Dutch PM's call for Caroliene's aid during election debate trending on Twitter
Prime Minister Mark Rutte had a blackout during the last election debate before the Provincial States election on NOS on Tuesday. While debating with PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher, the Prime Minister could not remember an example he wanted to give. "What was the second example? ... Caroliene, help, I lost it", he said, smiling towards the audience. After the debate Rutte asked the media not to make a big deal out of this, but by then the name 'Caroliene', and various spellings thereof, was already trending on Twitter.
Rutte's blackout happened during a one-on-one debate with Asscher about how to bring the Netherlands closer together. Rutte wanted to give two examples, but forgot the second one.
On social media, many debate watchers speculated who Rutte's 'Caroliene' was. Some wondered if he had a secret girlfriend. Other's posted gifs and jokes about the Prime Minister's slipup. Some linked it to the long night Rutte must have had on Monday after the deadly shooting on a tram in Utrecht. "Respect that he did not use this as an excuse", one person posted.
The cry for Caroliene was also popular on Twitter on Wednesday. "Didn't you bring Caroliene?" an NRC reporter asked on Twitter with a photo of Rutte casting his vote in The Hague.
The Caroliene Rutte was calling for is Caroliene Hermans, his political adviser, according to newspaper AD. She is the daughter of former minister and former VVD celebrity Loek Hermans, and succeeded her sister Sophie as Rutte's aid in 2017.
After the debate, Rutte responded to his blackout: "I had prepared it so well, but got it mixed up... it's a nightmare that you forget your arguments in such a moment", he said to the press. The moment can be seen here.