Not as bad as the presidential debate 2020 but certainly not very impressive either.
Usually a sideshow, Vice Presidential debate enjoyed its unaccustomed stardom in 2020 after the episode of events. After a chaotic first presidential debate, moderator Susan Page laid out the rules clearly before discussion that the candidates must let their opponent finish their argument.
After witnessing President Trump’s endless interruptions during the first presidential debate, Democrat candidate Kamala Harris took a stern dig at Republican candidate Mike Pence when he interrupted her first. In an initial exchange, she said, “Me. Vice President, I am speaking”.
The message was clear — let’s not let it be ‘that’ debate.
Throughout the discussion, the Vice President Pence focused his vision to his opponent Harris and the moderator for the most of the time. Sen Harris looked directly into the camera for a good portion of debate, directly addressing the people of America.
While Sen Kamala Harris didn’t come up with good defense against a few allegations that Republican candidates put on her party and Joe Biden, Vice President Mike Pence was often witnessed dodging crucial questions entirely.
All-inclusive, Vice Presidential debate 2020 was a little underwhelming than what the world was expecting from the two candidates, but far above the benchmark set by the Cleveland debate.
Here are some of the key highlights from the vice presidential debate 2020 held at University of Utah —
Handling of Coronavirus by Trump Administration and candidate’s plans to fight pandemic
The exchange Kickstarter with discussion on coronavirus and its handling by the Trump administration. Sen Kamala Harris began with a piercing remark- “this government has forfeited its right to reelection based on this.”
She went ahead to call it the biggest administrational failure in American history and laid out the Democrat’s plan to fight the pandemic. She said, “Joe Biden has a plan. We know what we have to do around national strategy for contact tracing, vaccine preparation and making the vaccine free for people.”
Democrat candidates accused President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of hiding the lethality and consequence of the virus from people since February 2020.
Vice President Pence in the defense of his administration, stated that Donald Trump is the first President in the history of America to put travel restrictions on China, the second largest economy in the world. Pence said, President Donald Trump has put the health of America first.”
On Democrats’ plans about handling the pandemic if they win election, Pence attacked Harris by saying that Joe Biden’s plan is almost everything that Trump’s administration is already doing and that it seemed plagiarised-
“It looks a little bit like plagiarism,” he said. “Which Joe Biden knows something about.”
The highlight of the segment of vice presidential debate was when Mike Pence said that Joe Bidden opposed the restrictions that President Trump put immediately on travel from China.
Fact Check: Travel restrictions from China were not pervasive in America. These restrictions did not include Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. The restriction from traveling from the other part of China was only on the non-citizens. Citizens still had the choice to travel but were subject to 14 day quarantine and screening.
According to Ny times, before the restrictions were imposed, 430,000 people had traveled to the US from China in the two months.
About Pence’s claim that Joe Biden opposed the restrictions, he definitely mentioned president’s xenophobia and hysteria in a statement but the context was not travel restrictions- “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia … and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science”
Dodging the questions and escaping the answers, Mike Pence
When the moderator moved to the next segment Mike Pence if he had discussed with the President the safeguard and procedure when it comes to presidential disabilities, the Vice President completely ignored the question. He didn’t answer the subject and instead went back to put allegations on Joe Biden for the virus eruption.
This time, Mike Pence accused Democrats of being a real failure while handling a pandemic back in 2009 during the swine flu outbreak.
However, it was an imbecile comparison since swine flu was not as lethal as coronavirus and even after 60 million people were infected, there were only 12,500 deaths.
When the same question was put before Harris, she did not entirely avoid it, but used maximum opportunity to introduce herself to the people. She ended by saying that she and Joe Biden share the same values and therefore, he picked her to be his running mate.
Should the President’s health details be shared with voters?- Susan Page
This was another segment where Mike Pence avoided the answer to the question being asked. Harris on the other hand used the opportunity to take a jibe on president’s transparency and soon went to Trump’s federal taxes. She soon pivoted the topic from taxes to affordable healthcare act and said-
“If you have a preexisting condition, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, they’re coming for you if you love someone who has a preexisting condition.”
To this, Pence responded, “Obamacare was a disaster. The American people remember it,”
This was in context of the lawsuit that the Trump administration is defending for the purpose of dismantling the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.
On economy and taxes
Harris said that the Biden administration equates the growth of the economy with the growth of each individual and not just the wealthy. She further said that Democrats will invest in infrastructure, renewable energy and innovation.
To this, Pence responded:
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates, not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health. … Green New Deal, all government control.”
Further, Pence went on to say that during Obama’s term, America went on to lose 200,000 manufacturing jobs. However, this calls for another fact check-
FACT CHECK: February is the month that is considered for the calculation of the first pay period after the new president takes charge. President Obama took the office on 20th January, 2008. It was in the middle of the Great Recession where by February, a plethora of jobs were already being lost. Here, Pence started the counting from january. Furthermore, jobs are created by companies and not the president and the vice president.
Harris attacked the Trump administration by stating that they are non-scientific to which Pence told moderator Page —
The climate is changing. We’ll follow the science. But once again, Senator Harris is denying the fact that they’re going to raise taxes on every American.
Another series of coronavirus discussion erupted when moderator asked the candidates-
What do they think China is? Competitor, adversary or enemy?
In this segment, the viewers saw Pence holding China responsible for the pandemic and Harris blaming the Trump administration for the American lives lost.
“China is to blame for the coronavirus, and President Trump is not happy about it,” Pence said. “He’s made that very clear.”
Harris voiced the rebuttal —
“The Trump administration’s perspective and approach to China has resulted in the loss of American lives, American jobs and America’s standing,” Harris said. “There is a weird obsession that President Trump has had with getting rid of whatever accomplishment was achieved by President Obama and Vice President Biden.”
About Trump’s international relations
Harris called out Trump’s inability to establish solid international diplomacy and stand up against dictators. She said-
“It’s about relationships and the thing that has always been part of the strength of our nation. In addition to our great military, we keep our word. But Donald Trump doesn’t understand that because he doesn’t understand what it means to be honest.”
On Roe v. Wade
When asked what Trump administration would do if Roe v. Wade is overturned, Pence declined to answer, instead started giving reasoning for the nomination of Amy Coney Barratt.
“She’s a brilliant woman and she will bring a lifetime of experience and a sizable American family to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Pence said. “And our hope is in the hearing next week, unlike Justice Kavanaugh received with treatment from you and others, we hope she gets a fair hearing.”
To this, Harris responded, “Joe Biden and I are both people of faith, and it’s insulting to suggest that we would knock anyone for their faith. And in fact, Joe, if elected, will be only the second practicing Catholic as president of the United States.”
On abortions rights and supreme court’s role on the same, Harris said- “There’s the issue of choice. And I will always fight for a woman’s right to make a decision about her own body. It should be her decision and not that of Donald Trump. And the vice president, Michael Pence.”
Elaborating on the same, Pence said:
I couldn’t be more proud to serve as vice president to a president who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life. I’m pro-life. I don’t apologize for it.
Pence further blamed the Obama administration for Islamic expansion and said that Kayla Mueller’s parents believe that if Trump was president, their daughter would be alive today.
Overall, there were moments in the vice presidential debate where Kamala could have shut Pence’s claims which she couldn’t. The Democrat candidate appeared a little unprepared and weak on homework. On the other hand, Mike Pence blurted a series of false facts and dodged multiple questions without answering.