Vice Presidential Debate 2020


Lorenzo Arce/EPM

During the 2020 Vice Presidential Debates, a fly landed on Vice President Pence’s head. It stood there for some time, creating a buzz on the internet.

Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris met at the University of Utah for the Vice Presidential Debate. This debate follows last week’s controversial debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Susan Page was the mediator for the evening.

COVID-19 Response

Page begun by asking Harris what she and Joe Biden would have done differently in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. She said she would have immediately responded to the virus instead of downplaying it like the current administration. Pence responded by saying President Donald Trump put America first by shutting down the United States. He then called Operation Warp Speed, the effort to distribute vaccines in mass numbers, a success. He also called Biden’s plan a “plagiarism” of the Republican Party’s plan. 

Pence was asked about the recent infection of top government officials. Pence said he and Trump trust the American people to look after their own health. Harris pointed out the White House’s dishonest portrayal of the virus. She said it has already lead to 210,000 deaths in the United States and millions worldwide.  

If the President Becomes Incapacitated

Pence ignored Page’s question about transfer of power. He instead continued the previous argument by telling Harris to “stop playing politics with peoples lives.” He added she doesn’t acknowledged that there is a vaccine readily for distribution soon.  Pence continued saying the Trump administration has learned from the swine flu epidemic and won’t make the same mistakes.  Kamala Harris recounted the day Biden asked her to be his running mate. She concluded that her past experiences have made her a capable leader if the need arises.  

President’s Health and Transparency

Page asked Pence if voters deserve to know about the Presidents health. He said Trump was emotionally moved by the countries concerns and acknowledged Harris’ concerns. Harris responded details about both his health and financial information should be transparent. Harris called Biden more honest than Trump. Pence responded on how Trump rebuilt America’s economy with his business experience. Hilary Clinton wouldn’t have been able to do it if she was elected because she lacked it, he added.    

Raising Taxes

Harris claimed Biden will repeal Trump’s tax bill and reinvest in infrastructure, scientific research, and education. She then attacks Trump for letting American business go overseas for cheaper labor and manufacturing cost.  

Economic Recovery

Page asked the candidates if Americans should expect a slow recovery from the current recession. Pence responded  Trump plans to cut taxes and raise the average income. He accused Harris of planning to raise taxes, implementing the Green New Deal, and rebuilding relations with China. Harris responded that the truth is nobody who makes under $400,000 a year will be taxed more. 

She then attacks the current administration’s efforts to repeal the affordable care act. She warns disabled citizens saying multiple times, “They’re coming for you”.  

Climate Change

The mediator asked if man-made climate change effects the fires on America’s West coast. Pence acknowledges climate is changing, then abruptly points out Harris wants to raise taxes and ban fracking. Harris retorted, calling Trumps trade war with China a loss. She adds that more jobs have been lost under Trump’s administration than any other. Pence then called Joe Biden a cheerleader for communist China and said his labor policies will kill jobs.  

American Relations with China

Page asked Pence aboute America’s diplomatic stance on China. He accused Harris of trying to help China and called her the most liberal member of the Senate. He then said China is responsible for the Corona Virus and it was Trump’s decision for banning travel to China in February. Harris said China’s relationship with America costed the United States both lives and jobs because of the high tariffs imposed by Trump. She also said the PEW Research Center analysis finds China’s President, Xi Jingping, too be a more reputable and respectable person than Donald Trump.  

America and Foreign Policy

When asked about the role of American Leadership in foreign relationship, Harris said Trump betrayed and alienated our allies and has embraced dictators. She also accused the Trump administration of trusting Russian President Vladimir Putin over American intelligence officials and pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Pence rebutted that he and Trump helped move Israel’s embassy to Jerusalem and destroyed ISIS. He blamed the Obama administration for the death of Kayla Mueller. She was a victim of the Beatles, an ISIS subgroup who has been accused of multiple atrocities. 

Harris expressed her sympathies to Mueller’s parents who are also in the crowd and pointed out how Tump called injured and deceased military members as “suckers and losers.” She also said Trump doesn’t regard Senator John McCain a hero because he was a prisoner of war and Trump’s lack of response to Russia putting bounties on servicemen in Afghanistan. Pence responded with calling Harris’s accusations absurd and said Trump respects everyone in the military.  

Roe V. Wade

When asked about what Indiana should do if Roe V. Wade, the right to abortion, is overturned; Pence instead reminds the public it was Trump’s idea to assassinate Iran’s general Qasem Soleimani. He congratulated Amy Coney Barrett for being nominated to the Supreme Court. He said her Catholic faith is looked down upon by the Democrats. Harris responded that it’s an insult to believe Barrett’s faith is under scrutiny. He continued pointing out if Biden is elected he will be the second Catholic President of the United States. She said abortion is a woman’s choice and Ruth-Bader Ginsberg’s Judiciary seat should be left open until the end of the election. 

When asked if Trump’s administration is willing to help those in need of affordable care, Pence revealed his support to the pro-life cause since and attacks Biden’s plan to add more Supreme Court seats. He also falsely claimed Biden wants to move the time to perform an abortion to before birth. Harris responded the Republican Party packed the court themselves and none of the officials put in power were Black.  

Police Brutality

When asked about the Breonna Taylor case, Harris said her neither her or George Floyd’s death was justified. She affirmed her support of the recent protest. She revealed he plan to ban chokeholds, cash bail, private prisons and her plan to decriminalize marijuana. Pence affirmed Breonna Taylor’s family has his sympathies just. He promised justice to both families. He condemned the protestors and rioters across the country. Pence called the idea of systemic racism and biased policing an insult to Law Enforcement. He criticized Harris for walking out on talks regarding police reform. Harris called out Trumps refusal to condemn white supremacy as Pence mutters “not true”. He continued saying  The President has condemned the KKK and other hate-groups before. He defended Trump saying he can’t support white supremacy because he has Jewish grandchildren. 

Transfer of Power

 If Trump refuses to hand power over if he loses the election, Harris said Biden has support from some Republicans and urges the American people to vote President Trump out of office. Pence responded that he believes Trump will win the election because of all that they have done for the country. He accused the Hilary campaign of spying on them and tryng to discredit the 2016 election. He once again called mail-in-voting a fraud.  

Brecklynn Brown

Page read the question submitted by 8th grader Brecklynn Brown asking how they expect citizens to get along if the U.S. government officials don’t get along. Pence said not to take the debates as a representation of the United States and at the end of the day we are all Americans. Harris’s response was on how Biden has a record of peaceful cooperation with those of different viewpoints and it is up to the young leaders of America to make change.