Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden paused the Democratic debate in order to have the audience stand and applaud for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the impeachment witness who was dismissed from the national security counsel earlier in the day.
"And by the way, Col. Vindman got thrown out of the White House today! Walked out!" said Biden.
"I think we should, and the same time, he should be pinning a medal on Vindman and not on Rush Limbaugh!" he added to growing applause.
"I think what we should be doing now, I think we should all stand and give Col. Vindman a show of how much we support him!" Biden exclaimed.
"Stand up and clap for Vindman!" he said. "Get your, get up there! Who we are! That's who we are! We are not what Trump is!"
Vindman was a key witness for the Democrats in the House impeachment hearings. He testified in corroboration with the accusations that the president withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure a politically motivated investigation into Joe Biden and his son.
Vindman was escorted from the White House and removed as a national security adviser hours before the debate. Critics say it was retaliation for his testimony, while supporters of the president praised him for "draining the swamp."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) defended the decision of the White House to demote Col. Vindman in a tweet that corrected the media by denying that he had been fired. "He was assigned to NSC to serve the President who has a right to have people he trusts on his staff," Rubio wrote.