US elections: Kamala Harris and Mike Pence debate over VP
A live TV debate between the candidates for vice-president ahead of next month’s US election has seen fierce clashes over the coronavirus, economy, and environment in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.
The debate was between Democratic vice presidency nominee Kamala Harris and sitting Vice President Mike Pence.
Both presidential candidates tweeted out messages of support following the relatively civil debate, with President Donald Trump claiming that his running mate had “WON BIG,” while Democratic nominee Joe Biden told Kamala Harris that she had “made us all proud tonight.”
As the Democrat’s main point of attack was over the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Harris accused Mr. Pence and the president of deliberately misleading Americans about the lethality of coronavirus.
“They knew, and they covered it up,” she said, adding that they had “forfeited their right to re-election”.
Pence was able to respond quickly saying: “Our nation has gone through a very challenging time this year. But I want the American people to know that from the very first day President Donald Trump has put the health of America first.”
Ms. Harris was asked by the moderator whether she would take an approved Covid-19 vaccine distributed ahead of the election.
The 55-year-old California senator said she would not take a jab touted by Mr. Trump without the say-so of medical professionals.
While Mr. Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force, retorted: “The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration I think is unconscionable.”
- Ms. Harris said the Trump tit-for-tat tariffs on China had caused a manufacturing recession, adding: “You lost that trade war. You lost it.” Mr. Pence hit back: “Lost the trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it. Joe Biden’s been a cheerleader for communist China through, over the last several decades”
- Ms. Harris assailed Mr. Trump for paying $750 a year in federal income taxes as president, according to a New York Times investigation. “When I first heard about it, I literally said, ‘You mean $750,000?’ And it was like, ‘No, $750.'”
- Ms. Harris said Mr. Trump had “betrayed our friends and embraced dictators around the world”. Mr. Pence said Mr. Trump had ordered operations that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
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