The US Democrat Harris and the Republican Pence controversially discussed key election campaign issues such as how to deal with the corona virus, climate change and racism during the Vice-Presidential debate.
In the only TV debate of the vice-candidates before the US presidential election, candidate Kamala Harris made the corona virus a central issue. "The American people have witnessed the greatest government failure in our country’s history," Harris said in Salt Lake City on a stage with Vice President Mike Pence. "The American people have made sacrifices because of the incompetence of this government."
Pence countered with the argument, often put forward by Donald Trump, that his administration’s measures had saved hundreds of thousands of lives. The debate was much more orderly than the duel between Trump and challenger Joe Biden, which had sunk into chaos a week earlier. The main trigger for this was that Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden.
Pence keeps ignoring questions
The vice-candidates barely interrupted each other – also because Harris blocked two attempts by Pence with a resolute "Mr. Vice President, now I’m talking". In return, Pence repeatedly exceeded the time allotted to him. He didn’t let the presenter – USA Today journalist Susan Page – stop him and just kept talking. Pence also noticed that several times he simply ignored the questions and instead placed the messages that he wanted to accommodate.
For example, when asked about the position on abortions, he first went on about how the Trump administration had killed Iran’s top general Ghassem Soleimani with a rocket attack. Both candidates evaded the question of how their agreements with the respective presidential candidates are for a transfer of power. It’s an important point: Trump is 74 years old and has Covid-19, Biden is 77. Either of the two would be the oldest president in US history when he took office in January 2021. Moderator Page didn’t ask.
Dispute over the Supreme Court
Neither did Harris answer Pence’s question of whether Biden and the Democrats would enlarge the Supreme Court if they won the election and regained a majority in the Senate. Republicans are trying to get Amy Coney Barrett, a lawyer, to the US Supreme Court. It would cement a conservative majority in the court.
Pence did not comment on whether he and Trump would accept an election defeat. "I think we will win this election," said the vice president. Trump is well behind Biden in national polls. Harris stressed that as president, Biden would reverse Trump’s tax reform. Pence then stated that it would mean tax increases for voters. Harris affirmed, "Joe Biden will not raise taxes on anyone who earns less than $ 400,000 a year."
Harris: Would return to the Paris Climate Agreement
Harris also said that a Biden government would "proudly" rejoin the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, Pence avoided the direct question of whether he considered climate change to be an existential threat. "The climate is changing, we will follow science," he said. Harris described climate change as "an existential threat to us as humans."
Pence repeatedly attacked Joe Biden’s political past as Barack Obama’s Vice President and US Senator. Among other things, he accused him of the fact that jobs had been lost to China and that Obama’s health reform had failed. Harris (55) and Pence (61) contested their 90-minute duel at a distance of about 3.7 meters from each other and also separated by Plexiglas panes. For the few spectators of the debate there was a mask requirement.