Senator Kamala Harris said at the beginning of the debate that the approach of the US President Donald Trump’s administration to the covid-19 pandemic is the biggest failure of the US government in history. “They knew it and covered it up,” Harris, 55, said Donald Trump deliberately downplaying the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic. As expected, this was one of the main topics of debate, given that the infection was demonstrated in Trump last week.
Sixty-one-year-old Pence responded by defending the government’s actions, mentioning Trump’s restrictions on the entry of Chinese travelers into the United States in late January, when China was the epidemic. According to Pence, the Democrats’ plan to deal with the covid-19 pandemic only copies the current White House plan.
The vice presidential debate was according to BBC decent and sleek, especially compared to the first debate of presidential candidates, which degenerated into sharp personal outbursts, insults and jumping into speech. The biggest uproar was caused by a fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head and remained there for over two minutes.
The sharpest exchanges of views took place on the topic of a vacant seat in the US Supreme Court or the issue of entrenched racism in the US police force. Harris accused Trump of unequivocally condemning armed groups of white nationalists in last week’s debate. Pence accused the media of taking the president’s words out of context and argued that all racist groups had been condemned repeatedly by Trump in the past.
Pence and Harris also clashed over vaccines. The Democratic candidate said she would be happy to receive a coronavirus vaccine approved by experts, but that she did not trust Donald Trump, who had previously promoted drugs to combat covid-19, which ultimately had no demonstrable effect. Because of this, Pence accused his opponent of politicizing the development of the vaccine and said that he “plays political games with human lives”.
Another significant clash of the evening concerned the issue of entrenched racism in the police forces. Harris said justice had not been served in the case of the death of black woman Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead in a March police raid this March. She linked her case to other recent cases of excessive use of force by white police officers against blacks, most notably the death of George Floyd in May, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for over seven minutes.
The candidates also clashed on the issue of voluntary abortions and the Supreme Court. Pence first avoided the question of what the American states should do if the Supreme Court overturned the judgment in Roe v. Pence. Wade of 1973, which essentially legalized abortions throughout the United States. Instead, Republican vice president defended Conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who recently appointed Trump and awaits confirmation in the Senate.
“It’s a matter of choice. And I will always fight for the right of women to decide for themselves what to do with their bodies, “Harris said on the issue of abortion. Pence told her that he was honored to serve a president who defended the sanctity of human life.
However, Harris avoided the question of whether Democrats would try to increase the number of judges in the Supreme Court in the event of a November win so that they could nominate their candidates and regain a majority for liberally-appointed judges in the influential tribunal. Instead, she said the Trump administration was trying its best to fill the lower courts with its ideological allies, apparently ignoring black candidates.
Although under normal circumstances the clash of vice-presidential candidates is not considered very significant, this year the media paid significantly more attention to it. Due to President Trump’s contagion, the fate of another debate of presidential candidates is uncertain. According to observers, Pence and Harris are also apparently going to run for president in the future, regardless of the result of this year’s elections.