Vice Presidential Debate Recap

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Photo Collage Courtesy of Amanda M. Castro, Photos Courtesy of Creative Commons

Katie Klemme, Contributing Writer

​While the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night was calmer than the presidential debate on Sept. 29, it still eventually devolved into a debate over facts, each side disagreeing on things said in the past and during the debate time.

Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence held up the pretense of civility, but tensions between the two remained high, as questions about topics such as the role of the vice president and racial bias in America were addressed.

​The debate began with a hard-hitting question about COVID-19 directed towards Harris. When asked about how she felt about President Donald Trump’s response, Harris responded with statistics.

“200,000 people dead, 1 in 5 businesses closed, and 20 million people filing for unemployment,” said Harris.

She also mentioned the rumor that both Trump and Pence were made aware of the potential impact of COVID-19 in January, two months before the American people were told.

Fact: A white house official said that the president was told that the coronavirus was potentially going to “spread globally.”

Pence responded, saying that the Trump Administration has put America first throughout the pandemic and that the American people have demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice for the wellbeing of others.

The next question given to the candidates was on the role of the vice-president. This brought up the topic of the presidential candidates not being truthful with the voters. Pence responded regarding rumors about the president’s taxes that, “The President is a businessman, and has paid millions of dollars in taxes.” Pence also mentioned that the President has made financial documents available to the public for anyone to view if they have questions.

Fact: Trump reported more losses than earnings in his taxes which is why he paid so little in his first two years as president.

As the debate moved forward into topics like the economy and the Supreme Court, it devolved into a he-said, she-said fight. Both sides made points that were refuted by the other, and both candidates did not want to move on from questions.
For many questions, the candidates would use their uninterrupted time to respond to a previous question or response, as opposed to the question currently posed by the moderator. This led to a very confusing debate, as both candidates often switched topics.

The candidates spent a long time on the topic of the economy, discussing issues such as tax cuts and health care.

Harris accused the Trump Administration of not having a plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions if Obamacare is repealed by the Supreme Court. She also stated in response to Pence that Biden was responsible for the Recovery Act, which helped in the Great Recession.

In response, Pence said that Obamacare was a disaster and that Joe Biden was responsible for the slowest recovery from a depression since the great recession. He also stated that Joe Biden supports the Green New Deal which will cost Americans 2 million dollars.

Fact: The economy was well into recovery when Trump took office and he did not significantly improve the economy during his time.

The debate addressed many other topics like the recent nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barret by the Trump administration, and the ruling on the Breonna Taylor case. Both candidates had different opinions on this topic, but by this point, the debate had devolved into questioning facts presented by the other side.

On Breonna Taylor, Harris stated that she thought justice had not been given and that there needed to be reforms in both policing and the criminal justice system. Pence responded by saying that he trusts the justice system. He said that there is no excuse for what happened to George Floyd, but that the rioting that is destroying businesses is unacceptable.

Regarding the presidential election, they addressed the fact that Trump has not committed to a peaceful transfer of power should he not win the election. Harris said that “The Biden Administration plans to bring integrity back to the white house.” Pence said that he thinks, “The Trump Administration will win the election and that the Biden Administration has been trying to overturn the results since the 2016 election.”

The debate ended with a question from an 8th grader about how American citizens were expected to remain civilized when the candidates cannot model that in their debates.

Pence said that “America believes in a free and open exchange of debate,” and that the news is not a true representation of the American people. He also stated that the two sides will often come together as friends after issues that seem to separate them.
Harris said that the Biden Administration works in a bipartisan way and that the future is bright because of young leaders like the girl who gave the question.

Overall, this debate was more civil than the presidential debate but featured a lot of tension, and a disagreement over facts and statements. This is the only Vice-presidential candidate debate, and the next presidential debate will be on Oct.15.