Image source: Getty Images
Vice presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Mike Pence clashed over the coronavirus pandemic in their only debate ahead of next month’s election.
Democrat Kamala Harris called President Donald Trump’s administration the pandemic “the biggest failure of any presidential administration” in history.
Republican Vice President Mike Pence said the Democratic Party’s pandemic plan was “plagiarism.”
Democratic candidate Joe Biden led President Trump for 26 days to vote.
Opinion polls show that President Trump is lagging behind single-digit numbers in a handful of countries on the battlefield that will decide who wins.
Vice-presidents have exclusive power in the Senate and are obliged to intervene if the president is unable to perform his duties. Their day-to-day responsibilities vary by administration, but they usually serve as the best advisers, and some take on specific policy portfolios.
The Oct. 7 meeting was a civil debate between two smooth communicators compared to last week’s belligerent duel between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which degenerated into insults and cursing.
Mike Pence didn’t interrupt as much as the president did last week, but when he did, Kamala Harris intervened. “Mr. Vice President, I’m talking, I’m talking.”
The viral moment on October 7 was a fly landing on Mike Pence’s head and staying there for about two minutes.
Presidential Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash in Bitter Debate
The 90-minute televised debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City was marked by disagreements over the Trump administration’s management of the pandemic.
The 55-year-old California senator has accused Vice President Mike Pence and the president of deliberately misleading Americans about coronavirus mortality.
“They knew and covered it up,” she said, adding that they had “lost their right to re-election”.
Mike Pence accused the Biden-Harris campaign of copying the White House’s pandemic strategy, alluding to a blunder that ended Joe Biden’s candidacy for the presidency in 1987 when he plagiarized a speech by then-British Labor leader Neil Kinnock.
The moderator asked Kamala Harris if she would get an approved Covid-19 vaccine distributed before the election.
She said she would not take the blow advertised by President Trump without the opinion of medical experts.
Mike Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force, said: “The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in the vaccine if the vaccine comes out during the Trump administration, I think, is unscrupulous.”
The Plexiglas barriers separating the two discussants, located 12 feet apart, were a living reminder of the pandemic that killed more than 200,000 Americans.
President Trump, who is recovering from the virus himself, returned to the White House on October 5 after three nights in hospital, with the number of polls hanging.
On October 7, the president said that catching the disease was a “blessing from God,” exposing him to experimental treatments that he swore would be free for all Americans.
Meanwhile, the virus has spread through the west wing of the White House and infected figures in the presidential re-election campaign.
ABC News reported that an internal government note from October 7 said that “34 White House staffers and other contacts” had been infected in recent days.
The White House has not yet commented on this.