Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump decided to skip tonight’s GOP presidential debate hosted by Fox News and hold a separate event elsewhere in Des Moines, Iowa to benefit veterans.
The dueling events made for an interesting split screen for viewers trying to take in both events.
Here’s what unfolded at the GOP debate and the Trump event at roughly the same times tonight:
The Republican debate starts on time and the candidates on stage are introduced in order of poll standings (from highest to lowest): Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Rand Paul.
Trump is not on stage at his event.
Trump is mentioned straight off the bat. Cruz gets the first question from moderator Megyn Kelly on addressing Trump’s absence.
“Senator Cruz, before we get to the issues, let's address the elephant not in the room tonight,” Kelly said. “Donald Trump has chosen not to attend this evening's presidential debate. What message do you think that sends to the voters of Iowa?”
"Let me say I'm a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly. And Ben, you're a terrible surgeon. Now that we've gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way,” Cruz said.
Trump’s event has not started, but fellow candidate Mike Huckabee, who just finished the undercard debate, and his wife arrive.
All the candidates have at least spoken once. Ben Carson is in the middle of answering a question and is the last candidate to be asked his first question.
Trump walks on stage to a standing ovation and loud applause from the audience.
Trump then mentions Republican debate: “When you're treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights.”
“We thought what we would do is let them start…15 minutes into the hour.”
Protesters interrupt Trump’s event. "USA" chants overpower the protesters.
Rubio and Paul fight over a number of a topics, including domestic security and immigration.
Trump acknowledges Huckabee and Santorum inviting the two men on stage— John Santucci (@JTSantucci) January 29, 2016
“I am supporting another candidate for president. That does not mean we cannot work together when it comes to helping our veterans. That is why Mike and I are here doing tonight,” Santorum says.
Bush is answering a question on what he would do to prevent veteran charity organizations from misusing the money they’ve raised as has been alleged in some cases.
"The first duty of the next president of the United States is to fix the mess at the department of veterans affairs," he said. "That's his first responsibility. We have waiting lists or veterans that are waiting. We're gutting the military. More and more military personnel are leaving, becoming veterans."
Trump mentions his polls numbers.
“We have had amazing polls in Iowa. We are leading by substantial margins in Iowa and every single state. We are leaving every national poll.”
Cruz is grilled about his past comments he made on immigration.
“Isn't that better than this debate that is going on right now?” Trump asks. “They’re all sleeping everybody!”
Cruz is clarifying his position on immigration and laying out his policy.
“We can build the fence…If I am elected president, we will secure the border and we will end the illegal immigration.”
“We want strength, we want good health care, we want protection, we want borders, we want the wall. We want the wall.”
Debate is still ongoing and Bush is answering a question.
Trump wraps up his event: “So just to end an amazing evening, you veterans are incredible people.”
Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” starts blasting on the speakers.