Against the backdrop of a raging pandemic that has claimed greater than 210,000 lives throughout the nation, Vice-President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential choose Kamala Harris confronted off in the one VP debate of the season in Salt Lake City, Utah. With acrylic sheet limitations beside their desks — a reminder of the general public well being disaster the nation faces — the candidates sparred on the Trump administration’s pandemic response, the financial system, local weather, China and Ms. Harris’s prosecutorial document.
Ms. Harris described the Trump administration’s dealing with of the pandemic as “the greatest failure” of any administration in U.S. historical past and stated — citing investigative journalist Bob Woodward — that the President knew concerning the viral menace on the finish of January (weeks earlier than a public emergency was declared). She stated the administration nonetheless didn’t have a plan to sort out the pandemic.
“And frankly, this administration has forfeited their right to re-election based on this,” Ms. Harris stated.
The debate was noticeably civil and concerned some substantive coverage discussions in contrast to the presidential debate final week between President Donald Trump and his challenger, Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Also noticeable — and mentioned on social media and within the press — was a fly that landed Mr. Pence’s head in the course of the debate.
Mr. Pence stated Mr. Biden, if elected President, was going to lift taxes and that he was going to ban fracking, prompting Ms. Harris to declare — twice — that Mr. Biden wouldn’t elevate taxes for these making lower than $400,000 a 12 months and wouldn’t ban fracking. Mr. Pence stated Mr. Biden was a “cheerleader for Communist China”. Ms. Harris stated the Trump administration had misplaced its commerce conflict with China and that had an influence on the U.S. financial system and jobs.
Candidates averted answering questions — Ms. Harris repeatedly didn’t reply a query on whether or not or not her get together would “pack the court” (improve the variety of Supreme Court justices from 9) if Republicans confirmed choose Amy Coney Barret to the courtroom. There had been cases of Mr. Pence offering data on one topic when he was requested about one other.
The Vice President refused to reply whether or not local weather change was an existential disaster.
“The climate is changing, we’ll follow the science,” he stated. The Trump administration has usually questioned the function of science as a foundation of coverage making. In September, at a gathering with state officers in California to debate the wildfires ravaging the West Coast, Mr. Trump had stated, “I don’t think the science knows.”
Ms. Harris defended a hypothetical Biden-Harris administration’s determination to affix the Paris local weather accord and stated they’d accomplish that “with pride”.
Mr. Pence additionally didn’t elaborate on how the pre-existing well being circumstances could be lined in any different plan to the Obama-era Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which the Trump administration is litigating within the Supreme Court.
“If you have a pre-existing condition…, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, they’re coming for you,” Ms. Harris had stated in the course of the debate. “If you love someone who has a pre-existing condition, they’re coming for you. If you’re under the age of 26 on your parents’ coverage, they’re coming for you,” she stated.
Transfer of energy
When requested a query on what he would do if Mr. Trump refused to simply accept the election outcomes, Mr. Pence didn’t present a straight reply, as an alternative saying that the Republicans had been going to win the election.
“When you talk about accepting the outcome of the election, I must tell you, Senator, your party has spent the last three and a half years trying to overturn the results of the last election,” Mr. Pence stated, referring, amongst different issues, to the impeachment of Mr. Trump by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
Responding to the same query on the Biden-Harris technique if Mr. Trump refused to simply accept the outcomes, Ms. Harris stated: “Please vote. Vote early, come up with a plan to vote.”