By Katie Reilly
September 27, 2016

As soon as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton left the stage after their first debate Monday night, pundits and strategists began to answer the inevitable question: Who won?

And for at least some Republican strategists, the answer was Clinton.

Mike Murphy, who directed the pro-Jeb Bush Right to Rise super PAC, and John Weaver, a top John Kasich strategist, both took to Twitter on Monday night to say Clinton had bested the man who defeated their preferred candidate in the Republican primaries.

 

“I despise her silly lefty domestic policy and the class war tropes, but it’s all too clear that of these two only HRC is ready to be POTUS,” Murphy wrote, before quipping that Trump’s performance was “very low energy”—an insult that Trump repeatedly leveled at Bush during the primaries.

“Two thoughts: (1) She kicked his ass and (2) he helped her,” Weaver said, before adding: “I have never seen a more unprepared candidate in a major moment. #Malpractice.”

Republican strategist Dan Senor also praised Clinton’s debate performance.

“Clinton did something tonight that no journo has been able to do: surgically take him apart on his tax returns. She explained why it matters,” he wrote on Twitter.

Clinton suggested that Trump hasn’t released his tax returns because he doesn’t want Americans to know he hasn’t paid federal income taxes.

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