The words "Atlantic City" were never mentioned during the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But Clinton's allusions to Trump's business dealings - and to the many contractors who were stiffed by him during his multiple bankruptcies - were unmistakably about his casinos in the old seaside resort.
Clinton said: "I've met dishwashers, painters, architects, glass installers, marble installers, drapery installers ― like my dad was ― whom you refused to pay when they finished the work that you asked them to do."
Trump replied that maybe they had not done satisfactory work, and that was why he did not pay them.
"I can only say I am certainly relieved my late father never did business with you," Clinton said.
The story is a familiar one, but still painful for many in Atlantic City. (Michael Diehl, a piano dealer in Freehold, N.J. first interviewed by the Inquirer last summer about being ripped off on $100,000 worth of pianos he sold to Trump has been featured in ads and this week published an essay).
Monday, it ignited a fierce twitter storm from one Philadelphia woman, Arielle Brousse, 31, who works as assistant director of development the Kelly Writer's House at Penn, and, like many took it personally.
Brousse grew up outside Atlantic City, after her parents, mom a cocktail waitress, her dad a casino piano player, moved from Philly to get jobs in the casino industry. She said she lived in a community where it seemed everyone had at least one parent working in the industry.
"My entire childhood, our mortgage payment, my schooling, was all paid for with casino money," she said in a phone interview. Her mom worked for eight years at the Taj Mahal, before going on to become a social worker, and seeing first hand the effects of unemployment and poverty in the resort. Watching Trump, and knowing how Trump's A.C. empire burst, Brousse said, continues to be surreal.
"It honestly feels like our city's collective, embarrassing, useless, racist, bankrupt uncle is in a position to lead the nation and nobody else understands," she said.
Here's how Brousse (@thewordunheard) took to twitter to make sure nothing in Clinton's description of Trump's dealings, or his response, would be lost in the shuffle.
Her tweets were shared thousands of times, including from one tweeter who said "I'm from the Cape May area and Trump screwing over almost all of Atlantic County stretched down here too."