Moderator Chris Wallace struggled the candidates as the sparred over Covid, racism and police brutality.
President Donald Trump dubbed Democratic nominee Joe Biden incompetent and attacked his son Hunter in a bitter debate that saw his opponent told him to "shut up man."
In a fierce shouting match where both candidates pushed for airtime to defend their records and visions, Trump often spoke over Biden and even clashed with exasperated moderator Chris Wallace.
Coming into the contest, President Trump opted to come out strong, heckling and interrupting his opponent and appearing aggressive and assured.
“It’s hard to get a word in with this clown,” Mr. Biden said early on, while Trump even clashed with host Chris Wallace, who he continuously spoke over.
"I guess I'm debating you, not him," Trump said to Wallace.
At one point Biden appeared visibly riled, telling Trump to "shut up, man," before becoming more composed to his opponent's interruptions as the contest moved on.
Trump's handling of the coronavirus was high on the agenda, with Biden targeting the president for his approach to a pandemic that has seen 200,000 Americans die this year.
"I don't trust him at all," Biden said, pointing to Trump's previous claims that injecting bleach could beat the disease. "What we trust is scientists."
The former vice president also targeted Trump's decision to hold rallies on the campaign trail, only for the president hit back, stating that Biden could never draw crowds to match his, adding, "People want to hear what I have to say."
The president continued to blame the virus on being a "China plague," claiming that Democrats did not want to reopen cities for purely political reasons.
Naturally, the debate moved from shutdowns for health reasons to their impact on the economy, with Trump accusing Biden of wanting to "close down the whole country," leaving states "like being in prison" with coronavirus restrictions.
As many expected, on numerous occasions Trump took to attacking Biden's son, Hunter, over his dealings in Ukraine – a subject of ire amongst many Republicans.
The president also reiterated his claims that he is the "law and order" candidate, attacking Biden on his record with black voters, who showed an 81% to 7% support for Biden in a recent poll.
Trump and Biden brawl in ugly first debate with ‘incompetent’ Dem slammed over son Hunter and president dubbed ‘a clown’
Moment Joe Biden tells President Trump ‘Will you SHUT UP man’ in heated debate clash
Trump tells moderator Chris Wallace ‘I’m debating you not him’ as host tries to stop president and Biden interrupting
Joe Biden earned nearly $1million in 2019 and paid $346k in taxes according to return released hours before debate
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