In a debate that was both controversial but also cooled by several degrees from last week’s presidential debate, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris confronted Wednesday night on topics ranging from pandemic to health care at the USMCA.
Pence and Harris, D-Calif., One of whom no matter who will be the vice president of the oldest U.S. president ever elected by January, met in what will be their only face-to-face public appearance of the election. Along with their speeches at the assembly, Wednesday’s debate will likely be the highlight of the general election.
Here are the first five moments of the Vice President debate.
PRESIDENTIAL VICE DEBATE: HARRIS, PENCE SPAR ON THE STAGE DIVIDED IN PLEXIGLASS ON CORONAVIRUS, THE SUPREME COURT
Harris opened the debate with aggressive allegations against the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, taking his attack on his coronavirus response directly to the head of the coronavirus task force.
“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” Harris said.
“On January 28, the vice president and the president were briefed on the nature of this pandemic,” he continued. “And they knew what was happening and they didn’t tell you … They knew it and they hid it. The president said it was a hoax.”
Harris added, “This administration has lost the right to re-election on the basis of this.”
Pence responded by claiming that Joe Biden had opposed some of the Trump administration’s early actions on the coronavirus.
“I want the American people to know that from day one President Donald Trump has put America’s health first,” Pence said before mentioning Trump’s ban on travel from China. “Joe Biden opposed this decision, he said it was xenophobic and hysterical.”
And in response to Harris’ allegations that the Trump administration doesn’t have a pandemic plan and Biden does, Pence said Biden’s plans are very similar to the tests, traces, and other efforts he has been working on. Trump administration.
“When I look at their plan,” Pence said, “it feels a bit like plagiarism, which is something Joe Biden knows a little about.”
VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: PENCE RAISES SCANDAL OF PLAGIARISM TO DEFEND CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
Harris retorted that whatever Pence said Trump was doing, “clearly didn’t work”, citing “210,000 bodies”.
2. “I don’t take it”
Moderator Susan Page asked Harris if she would take a Trump administration-approved vaccine before the end of the year. Harris and other Democrats have recently been accused of questioning the efficacy and reliability of a potential coronavirus vaccine, and polls show that confidence in a vaccine could decrease.
Harris made it clear that if a vaccine is vocally supported by medical professionals such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, it would be “first in line to take it.”
But, Harris said, “If Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I won’t take it.”
Pence responded with disbelief.
“The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine… is inconceivable,” Pence said. “I ask you, stop making politics with people’s lives”.
3. Debate on the truth
DEBATE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL VICE: PENCE OFFERS ITSELF AS “CHEERLEADER FOR COMMUNIST CHINA”
A discussion of economic policy has turned into a debate on who is telling the truth to the American people.
While Pence accused Harris of telling the American people that he would immediately raise taxes once he took office, Harris smiled and said “That’s not what I said” while shaking her.
What Harris said is that Biden “believes that you measure the health and strength of the American economy by the health and strength of the American worker and the American family. On the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who measures strength. of the economy based on how the rich are doing. This is why it passed a tax law that benefits America’s richest 1% and largest corporations, leading to a $ 2 trillion deficit that the American people will have to pay. On the first day, Joe Biden will repeal that tax bill. He will get rid of it. “
Their key difference, it seems, was whether Trump’s tax cuts actually helped middle-class Americans.
After Pence wrapped up his point, Harris hinted last week when the presidential debate became a cumbersome mess of interruptions on Trump’s part, while Biden on several occasions simply repeated “that’s not true” as Trump spoke.
“We saw enough in the debate last week, but I think this should be a debate based on fact and truth, and the truth and the fact is that Joe Biden was very clear. He won’t raise taxes on anyone who does less than $ 400,000 a year, “Harris said.
Pence retorted, “Joe Biden said twice in the debate last week that he will repeal Trump’s tax cuts. It was tax cuts that gave the average working family a thousand dollars in tax breaks every year.”
Harris replied, “This is absolutely not true.”
PRESIDENTIAL VICE DEBATE: KAMALA HARRIS SAYS WILL NOT TAKE THE VACCINE IF TRUMP RECOMMENDS
“Are you planning to repeal only part of Trump’s tax cuts?” Pence asked.
The exchange was emblematic of the polarized state of politics in 2020, with each side approaching the issue not only from completely different perspectives, but from an entirely different set of facts. As Page tried to get candidates to switch to climate talk, Pence and Harris continued to shoot each other for Pence’s claim that Biden would raise taxes and for his claim that Biden would ban fracking.
“You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your facts,” Pence repeated several times during the rest of the debate. At one point he got ridiculed when Harris reiterated that Biden would not ban fracking.
4. Foreign policy becomes personal
Pence and Harris talked about foreign policy in what eventually became personal terms, with Harris bludgeoning Trump for the apparent immorality that harmed the United States on the world stage.
“What we have seen with Donald Trump is that he has betrayed our friends and … embraced dictators around the world,” Harris said. “He doesn’t understand what it means to be honest.”
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Pence said Trump kept his word when he moved the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and pointed out that Trump oversaw significant successes in the fight against ISIS.
Pence then attacked Biden over the death of Kayla Mueller, who was kidnapped by ISIS along with her boyfriend in 2013 after leaving a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria. Mueller’s parents blame the Obama administration for failing to save her life and were Pence’s guests at the debate Wednesday.
“The reality is that when Joe Biden was vice president, we had the opportunity to save Kayla Mueller,” Pence said. “The military entered the Oval Office, presented a plan. They said they knew where Kayla was … But when Joe Biden was vice president, they hesitated for a month. And when the military finally entered, it was clear that it was. had done it was moved two days earlier. “
“I’m so sorry,” Harris told Mueller’s parents before attacking Trump for his comments on military members.
“This is a Donald Trump scheme where he referred to our men serving in our military as losers and losers,” Harris said. “Donald Trump, who went to Arlington Cemetery and stood over the graves of our fallen heroes and said, ‘What do they get for it?’ Because, of course, you know, just think about what’s in it for him. “
“President Donald Trump not only respects but reveres all those who serve in our military,” Pence said. “And any suggestion otherwise is ridiculous.”
Pence asked for more time to respond to Harris’s allegations, but Page did not allow him to continue, citing the fact that the campaigns had agreed on certain rules. Pence continued to talk about the military question after he was asked a question about abortion.
DEBATE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL VICE: KAMALA HARRIS DUCKS PENCE QUESTION ON COURT PACKAGING
5. Questions about the courts
Pence and Harris went back and forth over the vacancy of the Supreme Court during the debate, with Pence extolling the administration’s candidate for the seat, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and Harris pointing out that there has never been a candidate. the Supreme Court confirmed this close to an election president.
At one point, Pence asked Harris point-blank if she and Biden would pack up the Supreme Court if they won the presidential election.
“You and Joe Biden, if you somehow win this election, are you going to fill the Supreme Court to get what you want?” He said.
“I’m so glad I took a little history lesson,” Harris replied before bringing the matter back to the vacancy of the Supreme Court.
Harris once again did not give an answer as to whether a Biden administration would bundle the Supreme Court. She and Biden have been asked this question numerous times and have not yet provided an answer.
Pence told the camera that Harris and Biden would do it.
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Bonus moment: “I’m the only one on this stage”
As the debate drew to a close, Harris took the time to remind viewers of her past as a prosecutor after Pence spoke about law enforcement.
“I’m the only one on this stage who has personally prosecuted everything from child sexual assaults to murder,” Harris said. “I’m the only one on stage who has pursued the big banks for taking advantage of American homeowners. I’m the only one on this stage who has pursued college for profit for taking advantage of our veterans.”
It was the first time Harris explicitly referred to his past as an attorney, including as a former California attorney general, which has been controversial in some liberal circles.
Double bonus: Fly steals the show
A fly landed on Pence’s head. And I stayed there. For minutes. It was a foolish part of what was a much more substantial and productive debate than the first presidential confrontation. But it spurred online parodies from the left – Joe Biden immediately started raising money and created the URL “flywillvote.com” to help voters register – and the right – Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky. complained about this the “deep state planted a bug on @VP. Illegal espionage is really out of control”.
Fox News’ Catilin McFall contributed to this report.