US elections: Pence and Harris

United States Senator Kamala Harris
Image sourced via Twitter @KamalaHarris

US elections: Pence and Harris face off in VP debate

Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence slugged it out on the debate stage, butting heads over COVID-19, the economy and climate change, among other issues

US elections: Pence and Harris

United States Senator Kamala Harris
Image sourced via Twitter @KamalaHarris

The gloves certainly came off when Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris met and took part in their first debate, as they each vie to become second-in-command after the November elections.

The debate took place at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Thursday, 8 October 2020.

Both candidates clashed heavily on the current administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, foreign policy, economic recovery and climate change.

Harris: ‘The greatest failure of any presidential administration’

Harris opened with a scathing attack on President Donald Trump, taking aim at his response to the virus, particularly after it emerged that the administration had known about the extent of the virus months before the US recorded its first slew of cases.

“On January 28, the vice president and the president were informed about the nature of this pandemic. They were informed that it’s lethal. In consequence that it is airborne that it will affect young people, and that it would be contracted, because it is airborne. And they knew what was happening and they didn’t tell you,” she said.

“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,”

Despite the numerous interruptions, Pence managed to maintain a level of composure during the debate. He said Trump has always put the people of America first, citing his controversial decision to ban travel from China in February.

“Our nation has gone through a very challenging time this year,” Pence countered.

“When I look at their plan that talks about advancing testing, creating new PPE, developing a vaccine, it looks a little bit like plagiarism, which is something Joe Biden knows a little bit about,”

Pence to Harris: ‘Stop playing politics with peoples’ lives’

He maintained that their action plan was foolproof adding that had they not acted earlier, many more Americans would have lost their lives.

Harris expressed concern over efforts spearheaded by the administration to find a vaccine, questioning its safety and validity.

“If the public health professionals — if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us I should take it — that we should take it, I’m not taking it,” she said.

Pence then hit back, accusing her of politicising the lives of Americans.

“So, the fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable,” Pence said.