Wednesday’s highly-anticipated vice-presidential debate didn’t disappoint.
Vice President Hunter Pence met his Democratic adversary, Senator Kamala Harris, in Salt Lake City. They met for their first and only debate before the presidential election on November 3. The two candidates discussed various campaign issues and policy differences in a relatively orderly proceeding that was a far departure from the last debate between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.
The Trump administration’s COVID-19 response was, as usual, at the top of the Democratic hit list. Harris called the White House’s response to the coronavirus outbreak “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.” She also admonished the administration for failing to raise the alarm in January when it first became aware of the potential threat.
PENCE JUST NOW: "From the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of America first."
REALITY: Trump is currently trying to rip health care away from 20 million Americans in the middle of a pandemic.pic.twitter.com/GEntmYPM4W
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) October 8, 2020
EDITOR'S SPECIAL OFFER: Sleepy Joe Biden Urges Americans to Mask Indoors as Omicron Variant Looms
Pence, the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, adamantly defended the administration’s coronavirus record. “President Donald Trump has put the health of America first. Before there were more than five cases in the United States, all people who had returned from China, President Donald Trump did what no other American president had ever done. And that was, he suspended all travel from China, the second-largest economy in the world.”
Vice President Pence also criticized Biden for his pushback against Trump’s travel ban. “Senator Joe Biden opposed that decision. He said it was xenophobic and hysterical. But I can tell you having led the white house coronavirus task force that that decision alone by President Trump bought us invaluable time to stand up the greatest national mobilization since World War Two,” said Pence. He also stated, “I believe it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives.”
Pence also reminded the public of the Obama administration’s nearly disastrous response to the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. This occurred during Biden’s term as vice president. “When Joe Biden was Vice President of the United States, not seven and a half million people contracted the Swine flu, 60 million Americans contracted the Swine flu,” said Pence. “If the Swine flu had been as lethal as the Coronavirus in 2009 when Joe Biden was Vice President, we would have lost 2 million American lives.“
Harris Being Evasive
Last night's debate, by 2020 standards, was normal.
There was an actual debate this time, but not necessarily answers to the moderator's questions.
Here are some takeaways ⤵️
— NPR (@NPR) October 8, 2020
Later in the debate, Harris was evasive during a few of the moderator’s questions. The moderator asked about safeguards and procedures regarding presidential disability. This is possibly referencing Biden’s seemingly deteriorating cognitive state. For this, she launched into a two-minute diatribe on her mother and the day Biden asked her to join the ticket.
The Trump administration’s recent Supreme Court nomination was also a subject of discussion. Democratic candidates have repeatedly evaded questions about whether they support adding seats to the Supreme Court. This is a practice commonly referred to as court-packing. That theme continued on Wednesday night. Despite several prying attempts from Pence, Harris refused to acknowledge whether or not she or Biden supported court-packing. However, Pence made sure to call attention to the matter.
“Are you and Joe Biden going to pack the court if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed?” said Pence. “I mean, there’ve been 29 vacancies on the Supreme Court during presidential election years from George Washington to Barack Obama. Presidents have nominated in all 29 cases, but your party is actually openly advocating, adding seats to the Supreme court, which has had nine seats for 150 years if you don’t get your way.”
After an evasive response from Harris that included no substantive answer, Pence made sure to bring attention to the non-answer. “I just want the record to reflect she never answered the question. Maybe in the next debate, Joe Biden will answer the question, but I think the American people know the answer,” said Pence.
Debate On Racial Justice
Later in the debate, the subject of racial justice came up, and Harris echoed the false claim permeating through the hard-left media that the president refused to condemn white supremacists. “we are talking about an election in 27 days where last week the President of the United States took a debate stage in front of 70 million Americans and refused to condemn white supremacists.”
Pence was quick to refute Harris’s allegations. “I think this is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country, Susan, is that you selectively edit just like Senator Harris did, comments that President Trump and I and others on our side made,” said Pence. “He [the president] condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and has done so repeatedly. You’re concerned that he doesn’t condemn neo-Nazis. President Trump has Jewish grandchildren. His daughter and son-in-law are Jewish. This is a President who respects and cherishes all of the American people.”
The biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s debate is that these two candidates have very different approaches to government and public policy. Pence summed it up best in one of his earlier comments in the debate. “The difference here is President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates, and not just mandates with the Coronavirus, but a government takeover of healthcare, the Green New Deal, all government control. We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people.”
The next presidential debate between Trump and Biden is scheduled for October 15.
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