US President Donald Trump and former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speak during the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • The first US presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was a continuous stretch of yelling, interrupting, falsehoods, and conspiracies — most of it from Trump.
  • At one point, the president said the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, should "stand by" amid nationwide protests against racism.
  • At another point, the president spewed misinformation about Biden's son, Hunter, and his foreign business dealings.
  • The interruptions were so over the top that the debate moderator, Chris Wallace, pleaded with Trump several times to stand down. Biden took a more blunt approach, telling Trump to "shut up."
  • Scroll down for more highlights from the first 2020 presidential debate.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

US President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden went head-to-head in a chaotic first debate Tuesday night.

The night was dominated by yelling, interruptions, and wild conspiracy theories at every turn, most of it coming from Trump. In all, as Business Insider's John Haltiwanger wrote, the debate was a "political horror show."

Here are the highlights from the hour-and-a-half debate:

Trump went after Biden over his intelligence and where he went to university

In one of Trump's harshest attacks of the evening, the president berated Biden over his academic credentials — despite his own niece accusing him of cheating on his SATs to get into the University of Pennsylvania — calling Biden the "lowest or almost the lowest in your class."

Trump also falsely claimed that Biden said he went to Delaware State University but "forgot the name of your college."

Trump told the Proud Boys white supremacist group to 'stand by,' and its members definitely noticed

"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump said of the neo-fascist group after Wallace and Biden pressed him to explicitly condemn white supremecist groups and militias.

Members of the Proud Boys were quick to jump on Trump's remarks, with some interpreting it as a call to violence.

Biden told Trump to 'shut up'

Biden got fed up after Trump cut him off repeatedly in the first 20 minutes of the debate.

"Would you shut up, man?" Biden told Trump.

Biden later called Trump a "clown," and expressed his disbelief at Trump's consistent efforts to interrupt him.

Trump gave a bizarre answer on climate change by talking about 'forest management'

When asked if he believes the science behind humans contributing to climate change with greenhouse gas emissions, President Trump went on a tangent focusing mainly on wildfires. He also claimed his administration planted one billion trees.

Chris Wallace pleaded with Trump to stop interrupting

Things got so bad with the cross talk and Trump cutting Biden off that Wallace stopped the proceedings to make a plea to the president to play by the rules.

Trump called on his supporters to 'go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen'

"Will you urge your supporters to stay calm during this extended period not to engage in civil unrest, and will you pledge tonight that you will not declare victory until the election has been independently certified?," Wallace asked the candidates.

"I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen," Trump said. "I am urging them to do it. As you know today, there was a big problem: In Philadelphia they went in to watch ... they were thrown out. They were't allowed to watch. There are bad things happening in Philadelphia, bad things."

 

Multiple fact-checkers and election experts said the president's encouragement amounted to voter suppression.

His claims about Philadelphia were also untrue, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer: "There were several reasons — none is corruption — why elections staff did not allow members of the public to arbitrarily enter their offices. The Trump campaign has no poll watchers approved to work in Philadelphia at the moment. There are no actual polling places open in the city right now. And elections officials are following coronavirus safety regulations, such as those limiting the number of people indoors."

Honourable mention: CNN anchor's no-holds-barred assessment of the debate

"I'm just going to say it like it is: that was a s--- show," CNN's Dana Bash said. "And we're on cable, we can say that. Apologies for maybe being a little bit crude."

 

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