Mike Pence and Kamala Harris Debate for First and Only Time

Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris took to the stage in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday night for the first and only Vice Presidential debate, in an unconventional format seated a little over 12 feet apart and separated by clear plexiglass partitions. The candidates presented a much calmer demeanor than the battle which ensued between President Trump and former Vice President Biden at last week’s heated Presidential debate, although it was not lacking in spark or fervor.

From the start of the debate, Harris stated in no uncertain terms the “American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” referencing their inadequate response to the pandemic and death toll of over 200,000 lives, stating the president knew of the dangers of the coronavirus in January and hid it from the public until March. Pence defended the President saying he closed the country and in particular banned travel from China at the onset.

Other main talking points focused the economy and jobs, health care, vaccine development and distribution, the Supreme Court, America’s relationship with Russia and trade war with China, Trump’s income taxes, police reform and climate change. While Harris spoke from firsthand experience being from Northern California, Pence echoed Trump’s position of blaming poor forest management as the primary cause of the unprecedented infernos. Harris pressed the issue referring to both the destructive west coast wildfires and extraordinary hurricane season causing devastation along the Gulf Coast, mentioning Trump pulling out of the Paris Accord and saying a Biden-Harris Administration would make it a priority to re-join the global effort to address climate change. 

Although Pence was not rude, he frequently went beyond his allotted time belaboring his main talking points and interrupting Harris during her response time. Harris held her ground, firmly stating several times she was speaking, not allowing the Vice President to steamroll her turn to answer. Both candidates avoided answering questions at times, revisiting a previous question or going off topic to complete their stated position.