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The First and Only Vice Presidential Debate

University of Utah


This past Wednesday, Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence met on the debate stage for the vice president debate in Utah. The moderator was Susan Page, a journalist and correspondent for USA Today. Upon learning that the President and First Lady both tested positive for COVID-19, plexiglass was installed, and the audience was mandated to wear masks. Here are the important details from the debate:

COVID-19: Pence was asked some tough questions about the way he has handled the nation’s response to the pandemic. When asked about the release of the Bob Woodward tape, Pence stated that Trump responded quickly to the threat of COVID by “shutting down all air travel from China.” Pence accused Biden of calling that decision “xenophobic.” Another issue of debate, Pence was asked why there was no social distancing at the Rose Garden event at the White House- Judge Amy Barrett’s nomination for the Supreme Court. Pence mentioned that it was safe since the event was outside and most people were tested for COVID-19 before arriving. Harris spent most of the time arguing that Trump “endangered“ the American people and brought attention to the fact that 210,000 Americans have lost their lives from COVID-19.

The Economy: Harris outlined her plan that Biden will only increase taxes on Americans that make over $400,000 a year. Harris argued that Trump’s tax break laws only help rich Americans such as millionaires. Pence challenged Harris’s claim and predicted that the economy is adding more and more jobs back that were lost in March. Harris stated that “we are undergoing a manufacturing recession,” while Pence seemed much more optimistic about economic progress. Toward the end of the economy debate, Pence said that Biden’s plan of supporting the Green New Deal would cost thousands of Americans to lose jobs.

Climate Change: (For more information on each presidential candidate’s climate plan, head over to my 2020 presidential candidates tab)

Both candidates had to address the issue of climate change and how their running mate has/will handle the warming planet. Biden and Harris want the country to become 100% clean energy by 2050 and “use the Green New Deal” as a framework for success. Trump and Pence want the country to continue producing natural gas, with an emphasis on fracking. Harris believes that there is legitimate concern in regards to the wildfires in California, and stated that ”we need a president who believes in science.” Trump blamed the California wildfires on poor “forest management,” and Pence claimed that “there are no more hurricanes today then there were 100 years ago.”

The Supreme Court Nomination: Pence said he and the president were “honored” to nominate Judge Amy Barrett to the Supreme Court. When responding to criticism of confirming a Supreme Court Justice in the middle of a pandemic and election year, he cited the Constitution. Harris challenged this nomination by bringing up the fact that Abraham Lincoln, a well respected President, did not nominate a Supreme Court Justice until he won the election. The issue of abortion (Roe V Wade) arose, as some fear that having a 6-3 conservative majority could restrict abortion access.

Racial Justice: The Breonna Taylor case came up in the debate, and the question was, “Do you believed justice was served?” Harris said that justice has not served, and she spoke about Taylor’s aspirations for becoming an emergency room nurse. Pence also offered his condolences to the family, but it appeared that he agreed with the officers not being charged, as he went on to defend law enforcement. He then accused Harris and Biden by claiming that they supported “rioting and looting” in the streets.

World Affairs: Some of the key issues that came up in the world affairs section included the United States relationship with Russia, China, and Israel. Pence spoke briefly about the United States‘ relationship with Israel and the historic peace treaty signed by Israel, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. Harris referred to Biden’s tenure as Obama’s Vice President, and argued that Biden was able to work around our “adversaries.” She added that Trump’s trade war with China has ”hurt” our farmers. The 2016 election was also a point of disagreement- Harris, who has served on the U.S. Intelligence Committee of the U.S. Senate, believes that there was foreign interference from the Russian Government. Pence denied the accusation.

The Election: The final topic of the night, Page asked each of the vice presidential candidates on their thoughts in regards to the mail-in-voting and “peaceful“ transfer of power if applicable. Pence confirmed his trust in the president, and he believes that Trump will win in 2020. Like Trump, Pence did raise concern about the validity of mail-in-voting. On the other hand, Harris believes that mail-in-voting does not pose any validity concern, and encouraged constituents to visit the website before the election.

*Be sure to vote this election! America needs your voice. It is quite possible we will not know the results of the election on November 3, so it is important to be patient during the process. Share this blog with anyone who was not able to watch Wednesday’s debate!



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