Donald Trump and Joe Biden have arrived in Cleveland, Ohio before their first election debate tonight.
President Trump arrived in Cleveland aboard Air Force One, and finished a 20-minute preview visit to the debate venue shortly before Biden landed in the city with some of his top advisers: Jake Sullivan, Ron Klain, Mike Donilon, and sister Valerie Biden Owens.
Biden went directly to the debate pavilion for his own walk-through.
Organizers said there would be about 80 people in the audience, including the candidates' family members, campaign staff, hosts, health and security officials and journalists.
There were reportedly around 400 protesters lining the streets of Cleveland ahead of the debate.
According to local media, crowds carried signs with slogans including “Dump Trump” and “Hate is not welcome here.”
Ahead of the protests, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said: “Cleveland has been a peaceful city lately so let’s keep it that way and show the people the way Cleveland is.”
Even before the debate started, it was clear this was going to be a bare-knuckle fight.
Team Biden declined - also denying, as Trump’s team claimed, that they had asked for “multiple breaks” during the event.
Kate Bedingfield, a Biden deputy campaign manager said Team Trump “seems concerned that he will not do well tonight, and they’re already laying the groundwork for how they’re going to lie about why.”
She added: “It is completely absurd. Of course he is not wearing an earpiece, and we never asked for breaks.”
The President has repeatedly - without evidence - claimed Mr Biden has relied on "performance enhancing drugs" in previous debates against fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders.
The bizarre line of attack came to a head today, 24 hours before the first Presidential debate of the 2020 US election in Cleveland, Ohio.
The President challenged Biden to a take a drug test ahead of the showdown, saying he would do the same.
I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night. Naturally, I will agree to take one also,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???”
In response, Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager treated the President's challenge with every bit of the seriousness it deserved.
“Vice President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it,” she said.
“We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200K Americans when he didn't make a plan to stop COVID-19.”