Pence, Harris battle over COVID-19 during VP debate

Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence


This story is part of Elections 2020, PJDM’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Vice President Mike Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris sparred on Wednesday night time over the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, because the pandemic took on a brand new degree of urgency after the president contracted the illness. 

Harris, who’s Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s working mate, assailed the administration’s response to COVID-19, the illness attributable to the virus and chargeable for the deaths of 211,000 Individuals. Throughout a debate in Salt Lake Metropolis, she mentioned the administration’s response, which is led by Pence, minimized the seriousness of the pandemic.

“The American individuals have witnessed what’s the best failure of any presidential administration within the historical past of our nation,” mentioned Harris, the primary Black lady and Asian American lady on a serious celebration ticket. If elected, a Biden administration would have a nationwide technique for contact tracing, for testing and for offering a vaccine for gratis.

Pence dismissed Harris’ cost, defending the White Home response as “the best nationwide mobilization since World Struggle Two.” He added that underneath President Donald Trump, the nation was on observe to provide a vaccine in document time.

The tense trade got here because the nation already confronted the unprecedented drama of President Donald Trump testing optimistic for COVID-19 final week. Pence has examined destructive although many individuals throughout the president’s orbit have contracted the illness. The talk got here lower than a month earlier than the Nov. three presidential election.

Debate organizers took additional precaution, seating Pence and Harris roughly 12 toes aside and separating them with plexiglass limitations. Even the query of plexiglass turned a problem within the days earlier than the controversy, as Pence initially opposed having a barrier close to him. Pence eventually agreed to the precaution. 

The US response to the coronavirus dominated the 90-minute debate, which prevented the chaos of a widely panned meeting between Trump and Biden final month. 

The 2 candidates additionally clashed over local weather change. Harris introduced up the wildfires raging within the west coast, together with her house state of California. Pence defended the Trump administration’s resolution to tug out of the Paris Accord, a pact that tech executives, together with Apple’s Tim CookTesla’s Elon Musk and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, have supported.

Pence acknowledged the local weather is altering, however mentioned a Biden administration would “crush” the US power sector and lift costs. Harris mentioned a Biden administration would obtain web zero emissions by 2050 and carbon impartial by 2035, whereas creating jobs.  

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Richard Nieva