The policy-heavy debate stood in stark distinction to final week’s chaotic presidential debate.
Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris clashed early and sometimes over the Trump administration’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic throughout their debate on Wednesday, because the White Home struggled to comprise an outbreak that has contaminated President Donald Trump and dozens of others.
The policy-heavy debate stood in stark distinction to final week’s chaotic presidential debate, with Harris happening the assault on subjects from healthcare to the economic system, local weather change and overseas coverage, and Pence defending the Republican administration’s practically four-year-old report.
“The American folks have witnessed what’s the best failure of any presidential administration within the historical past of our nation,” Harris stated as the talk started on the College of Utah in Salt Lake Metropolis.
In response, Pence defended the US administration’s efforts to battle the illness, together with Trump’s resolution in late January to limit journey from the pandemic’s epicenter in China.
“I need the American folks to know that from the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the well being of America first,” he stated.
The 2 candidates had been separated by 12 ft (3.6 meters) and plexiglass shields, a reminder of the pandemic that has claimed 210,000 American lives and devastated the economic system.
Harris performed the standard assault function of the vice presidential candidate, faulting the Trump administration for making an attempt to invalidate the Inexpensive Care Act healthcare legislation within the midst of a pandemic and assailing Trump for reportedly paying $750 a yr in federal earnings taxes as president.
“After I first heard about it, I actually stated, ‘You imply $750,000?'” Harris stated, referring to a New York Occasions investigation. “And it was like, ‘No – $750.'”
Pence sought to counter her assaults by turning the main focus to the economic system and tax coverage, saying: “On Day One, Joe Biden’s going to boost your taxes.” Harris responded by saying that Biden has vowed to not increase taxes on anybody making lower than $400,000 a yr.
The vp additionally asserted that Biden would ban fracking and embrace the Inexperienced New Deal, an enormous environmental proposal backed by liberal Democrats. Biden, nevertheless, has disavowed each of these positions.
As within the presidential showdown final week, Wednesday’s debate, moderated by USA At present journalist Susan Web page, was dominated by dialogue of the pandemic and the ensuing financial downturn.
Requested a few potential vaccine, Harris stated she would solely belief the phrase of scientists, relatively than that of Trump, who has promoted unproven remedies previously.
“If the docs inform us that we must always take it, I will be the primary in line to take it, completely,” she stated. “But when Donald Trump tells us to take it, I am not taking it.”
Pence fired again, accusing Harris of undermining public confidence in vaccines.
“I believe it’s unconscionable,” he stated. “Cease taking part in politics with folks’s lives.”
RACE AN ISSUE
Harris, the primary Black girl to serve on a major-party presidential ticket, additionally attacked Pence on race relations, criticizing Trump for turning down a chance to denounce white supremacists finally week’s debate with Biden.
In response, Pence accused the media of taking Trump’s phrases out of context and stated the president had repeatedly disavowed racist teams.
The age of the 2 presidential candidates – both Trump, 74, or Biden, 77, could be the oldest president in US historical past – added weight to the talk, with each Pence and Harris in search of to indicate they had been able to assuming the workplace. Trump’s current COVID-19 prognosis has solely made that concern extra salient.
The 2 candidates additionally jockeyed for place of their respective events; each are broadly seen as future presidential candidates, regardless of the final result of November’s contest.
Biden leads Trump in nationwide opinion polls and has a bonus of 12 proportion factors within the newest Reuters/Ipsos survey of seemingly voters. Polls present the race to be nearer in a number of the election battleground states that would decide the winner, though a Reuters/Ipsos ballot on Wednesday confirmed Biden main Trump in pivotal Florida.
Harris, who was on the most important stage of her political profession, is a US senator from California picked by Biden in August as his operating mate. The daughter of immigrants – her father from Jamaica and her mom from India – Harris is the primary Black girl nominated by a serious celebration for vp in addition to the primary particular person of Asian descent.
Pence, a former conservative radio host who debated then-Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine in 2016, is a former US congressman and Indiana governor who has steadfastly defended Trump throughout his tumultuous presidency.