The 90-minute debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris took place Wednesday at the University of Utah’s Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. Issues pertaining to the coronavirus, the Supreme Court, taxes, abortion, racial inequality and climate change were some topics that were addressed.
In the beginning of the debate, Harris expressed concern for President Trump’s health, while Pence congratulated Harris on the “historic nature” of her nomination as the first black woman vice presidential candidate of a major party.
However, throughout the debate there were several interruptions from Pence, leading to reprimands from Harris and debate moderator Susan Page. There were also some questions both candidates avoided answering directly, as they focused on speaking about issues of their preference instead. Nonetheless, the exchange between both candidates was more amicable in comparison to the chaotic presidential debate last week.
Most remarkably, Pence and Harris defended their positions on the response to the coronavirus, as Harris bashed the Trump administration’s actions. However, Pence retorted that the administration’s response saved lives. Pence went on, “The reality is, Dr. [Anthony] Fauci said everything that he told the president in the Oval Office the president told the American people.”
However, even more notable was the closing question, composed by an eighth-grade Utah student who inquired about political leaders being unable to get along with each other and how this has led to a dichotomy within the nation. In response, Pence criticized the media, stating that things are not always how they appear. He then went on to give the example of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, explaining that although the two Supreme Court justices did not agree on political issues, they still came together as Americans, adding, “Here in America, we can disagree.” Harris used the question to focus on the division of the country and how Biden, if elected, will bring people together. “Joe Biden has a history of lifting people up and fighting for their dignity,” she said.
Despite Trump testing positive for coronavirus, the second presidential debate is still scheduled for next week on October 15.