Biden calls Trump a 'liar', 'clown' in fiery debate

Joe Biden calls Donald Trump a 'liar', 'clown' in fiery US presidential debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden in debate with President Donald Trump. Credit: AFP and Reuters Photo

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, are meeting in Cleveland on Tuesday for the first of three debates ahead of the Nov. 3 election, when Trump is seeking a second term in office.

Joe Biden called Republican Donald Trump a "clown" on Tuesday as tension boiled over in the pair's first televised debate ahead of the November election.

"It's hard to get any word in with this clown -- excuse me, this person," said Biden, moments after Trump was warned by moderator Chris Wallace not to interrupt.

Here are takeaways from the matchup:

'Will you shut up man?'

Trump is used to sparring with reporters, and he kicked off Tuesday's debate by using the same tactic he uses in the White House briefing room: interrupting.

Trump repeatedly interrupted or sought to talk over Biden and the debate's moderator, Fox News host Chris Wallace, during a discussion about the Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act.

At times the debate split-screen showed the two candidates trying to talk over one another while Wallace spoke at the same time, pleading for clarity.

"Please let the vice president talk," Wallace admonished Trump during one of his interruptions after earlier making clear that he was the moderator. "Will you shut up, man?" Biden eventually said to Trump.

Guest list

Presidential candidates invite guests to debates with a calculated purpose: to emphasize a core campaign theme.

Ann Dorn, whose retired police officer husband was killed amid anti-racism protests in St. Louis in June, is among Trump's guests, a month after appearing in a video on his behalf at the Republican National Convention. Trump has hammered away at a "law-and-order" message in response to widespread civil unrest over police brutality and racism and accused Democrats of failing to support law enforcement.

Another Trump guest is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who played an integral role in trying to find dirt on Biden's son Hunter and his business dealings in Ukraine. Although the effort helped lead to Trump's impeachment, Giuliani's presence lends credence to reports that Trump intends to attack Hunter Biden anew at the debate.

Biden's guests include Kristin Urquiza, whose father, a Trump supporter, died of the coronavirus after dismissing its deadliness. The former vice president has sought as much as possible to turn the campaign into a referendum on Trump, and specifically on his handling of the outbreak, which has killed more than 205,000 Americans.

Biden's other guests included two local residents: Gurnee Green, a small-business owner, and James Evanoff, a steelworkers union member, who both represent the working families Biden is fighting for, his campaign said.