The final presidential debate on Wednesday had no breakout moments likely to drastically change the course of this election, but it was not without its flashes of drama and tension. Predictably, GOP nominee Donald Trump said a number of outrageous statements, including the stunning remark that he would "wait and see" when asked if he would accept the election results and a line about deporting "bad hombres."
And then there was a particularly ripe display of meanness that has plagued the candidate since the beginning. When Hillary Clinton talked about her plan to boost Social Security, Trump interjected under his breath, calling her a "nasty woman."
"I am on record as saying that we need to put more money into the Social Security trust fund," Clinton argued. "That's part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald's — assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it."
Never one to resist taking the bait, Trump muttered into his mic: "What a nasty woman."
The remark struck many as misogynistic — and especially ironic considering Trump said earlier in the debate that "nobody has more respect for women than I do."
It quickly set social media alight, as Twitter users criticized Trump for the comment.
But then many women quickly embraced it as a term of power and pride.
The term resonated so strongly on social media perhaps because many women have been at the receiving end of a comment of that nature. Particularly in politics, a field that has so long been an old boys club of sorts, Clinton has heard many forms of that casually sexist remark — and worse, too, surely — but in her signature preparedness, she remained unfazed when Trump threw that lowball, continuing her statement about Social Security without so much as a blink. (In fact, the domain www.nastywomengetshitdone.com now redirects to Clinton's campaign website.)
And as the country watched the former Secretary of State make a forceful case to become their first female president onstage on Tuesday, it's likely that Trump's "nasty woman" comment only further endeared Clinton to other such women who have struggled against a gendered system to rise to the top.
An earlier version of this story misstated the debate's timing. The story has been updated.
Cover image via Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com.