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The Guy Caught Glaring At Trump Said He Found Trump's Debate Demeanor "Creepy"

Earlest Johnson told BuzzFeed News he will "absolutely not" vote for Trump after attending the debate.

Posted on October 13, 2016, at 2:12 p.m. ET

During the second presidential debate on Sunday, a man was caught glaring at Donald Trump as he was speaking. He soon became a breakout, meme-worthy star.

Twitter: @C_Joyce3183

People who spotted him, and the displeased expression on his face, called him "relatable" and "a hero."

Well, BuzzFeed News found and spoke to the man. He is 55-year-old Earlest Johnson from St. Louis who retired in August from a job a local gas company, and he had a lot to say about that night and Trump.

Facebook: earlestr.johnson

Johnson said he was asked to be one of the audience members at the town hall–style presidential debate because he was a Bernie Sanders supporter who at the time felt undecided about Hillary Clinton and Trump.

"I wasn't so sure what I was going to do at this point," he said, after Sanders dropped out of the race.

So he was hoping attending the debate would help him make a decision between the two candidates.

Johnson said he had high hopes for the debate, but said he and other audience members were quickly turned off by Trump's demeanor, especially toward Clinton. He called it "creepy" and "weird."

Twitter: @broderick

"I thought it was initially it was going to be a great atmosphere," Johnson said.

As he watched Trump's behavior toward Clinton as she spoke to the audience, he grew more and more uncomfortable.

"He walked around her, sat behind her, and almost like he was stalking her," he said of Trump's body language.

"It was a lot of weird and it was very creepy," he added.

He also mentioned that another person in the audience whispered, "He's weird... Why is he doing that?"

His now-famous expression immortalized on the internet was captured when Trump conflated "African-Americans" and "inner cities" into one idea in his answer about representation. Johnson reacted with a single look.

Twitter: @soniamariesays

“I would be a president for all of the people,” Trump said. “African-Americans, the inner cities. Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities.”

"I was kind of shocked," said Johnson. "He wants us to vote for him, and I don’t know if he just doesn’t care, but he's offensive when he makes statements like that!"

Johnson joked that he "didn't do a good job concealing his displeasure" at that point.

The rest became online history. But Johnson had no clue his visceral reaction to Trump had gone viral until he got home. He said that night his wife got a ton of calls.

Earlest Johnson

"My wife was like, ‘People have been calling all evening, you’re on Facebook!'" he said.

"I didn’t even realize they had any shots of us," he added, thinking the audience would have been in the shadows and not seen on TV.

As far as the hilarious tweet that joked that he was now a decided voter, Johnson confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it's actually very accurate. "I'm going to vote for Hillary," he said.

"I am absolutely not a Trump supporter," he added.

Earlest Johnson


Johnson is 55 years old. An earlier version of this post misstated his age.

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