October 8, 2020 — In a debate ruled via the escalating COVID-19 disaster, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris squared off on a bunch of well being problems Wednesday night time, together with the Trump management’s dealing with of the virus outbreak, the destiny of Obamacare, and abortion rights.
From the get-go, the coronavirus disaster was once entrance and heart throughout the one vice presidential debate, held on the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Plexiglas shields separated Pence and Harris, who had been seated greater than 12 ft aside — a safeguard asked via the senator and to begin with antagonistic (however later agreed to) via the vp. The applicants didn’t put on mask, however contributors of the target audience had been required to take action.
The precautions had been stark reminders of the way the coronavirus has ravaged the country — killing greater than 211,000 other people, roiling the U.S. financial system, upending American lifestyles, and remaking the presidential marketing campaign.
Overall, the controversy was once extra civil than the wild exchanges that marred remaining week’s presidential debate, with President Donald Trump continuously interrupting and hectoring Biden or even sparring with moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News.
While neither vice presidential candidate broke a lot new flooring at the coverage positions in their campaigns, the development marked the primary actual alternate of concepts on well being coverage.
Moderator Susan Page, Washington bureau leader for USA Today, opened the controversy via turning the dialogue to the White House’s coronavirus reaction underneath Trump.
Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus process drive, said the U.S. goes via “an excessively difficult time,” however he defended and praised the president’s overall response to the disaster.
He singled out Trump’s resolution to prohibit shuttle from China on January 31, federal efforts trying out 150 million Americans for the virus, and the White House’s “Operation Warp Speed” program to fast-track a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, the government has shrunk with six drug firms — spending just about $11 billion — and Pence stated “tens of tens of millions” of pictures can be to be had via 12 months’s finish. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. has said that quantity is much more likely to be to be had within the early a part of subsequent 12 months.
Harris known as Trump’s coronavirus reaction “the best failure of any presidential management within the historical past of our nation.”
She accused the president of no longer publicly disclosing that he knew as early as Jan. 28 that the coronavirus represented an important risk — one thing published in taped interviews with veteran journalist Bob Woodward launched remaining month.
“They knew what was once going down, and so they didn’t inform you,” Harris stated, including later, “They knew, and so they lined it up.”
She criticized the president for persistently downplaying the general public well being dangers of COVID-19, even after he and primary girl Melania Trump had been inflamed with the virus remaining week. She additionally stated the president has set a nasty instance via wondering his personal well being advisers’ tips about mask-wearing and social distancing.
In addition, Harris ticked off a list of actions her working mate, former Vice President Joe Biden, has proposed to struggle and keep an eye on the virus. Those initiatives include loose COVID-19 trying out and vaccinations for all Americans, hiring 100,000 touch tracers and offering “enough” non-public protecting apparatus (PPE), and boosting pay for well being care staff. Biden additionally stated this week he would impose a mask mandate on federal assets.
Pence brushed aside ideas that Trump has despatched blended messages via no longer sporting mask or embracing social distancing, arguing that the ones selections are “non-public” and Americans must be capable to make their very own judgments.
Without providing specifics, he prompt Biden “plagiarized” Trump’s coronavirus sport plan in arising along with his personal plan — a veiled connection with Biden’s withdrawal from his first presidential run Three many years in the past on account of a plagiarism scandal.
Pence additionally defended the White House Rose Garden rite remaining month for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, the place Pence and different attendees had been sitting shut in combination, maximum no longer sporting mask. He stated “a substantial amount of hypothesis” was once caused via the development, however he famous it was once outside and stated “everybody” was once examined for COVID-19 previously.
That Sept. 26 tournament, and a reception throughout the White House that adopted it, is now observed as a “superspreader” tournament that resulted in a surge in coronavirus circumstances amongst one of the vital Trump management’s best officers and 3 Republican senators. An inner memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency stated that 34 other people attached to the White House had been inflamed, according to ABC News.
The applicants additionally sparred over questions concerning the protection of a COVID-19 vaccine and the way smartly it could paintings.
When Page requested Harris if she would take the vaccine as soon as it’s to be had, she stated she’d apply the recommendation of mavens like Fauci. “If Dr. Fauci, the docs, let us know that we must take it, I’ll be the primary in line to take it,” she stated. “But if Donald Trump tells us we must take it, I’m no longer going to take it.”
The remark drew a pointy rebuke from Pence, who accused the California Democratic senator of undermining public self assurance within the vaccine.
“Stop taking part in politics with other people’s lives,” the vp stated.
Obamacare, Abortion, and the Supreme Court
Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, and his push to have the Senate approve her via Nov. 3, drew one of the vital sharpest exchanges of the night.
The president and GOP-led Senate are transferring to seat Barrett ahead of the election. That may permit her to participate within the courtroom’s ruling on a lawsuit in search of to strike down the Affordable Care Act, to be taken up Nov. 10, and weigh in on any long run vote involving Roe vs. Wade, the landmark ruling granting a lady’s prison proper to abortion.
Democrats have antagonistic Senate motion ahead of Election Day, noting that persons are already balloting.
Harris praised Biden’s efforts to lend a hand go the 2010 act and criticized the Trump management’s efforts to repeal it simply because the country is confronting the most important well being disaster in 100 years.
She famous Obamacare supplies a variety of well being protections for Americans that will disappear if the regulation is overturned via the top courtroom. It calls for insurers to hide Americans with pre-existing prerequisites, with out charging them extra. It additionally permits oldsters to stay their kids on their well being insurance policies till the age of 26.
“If you will have a pre-existing situation — center illness, diabetes, breast most cancers — they’re coming for you,” Harris stated. “If you’re keen on somebody who has a pre-existing situation, they’re coming for you. If you’re underneath the age of 26 in your oldsters’ protection, they’re coming for you.”
Pence known as Obamacare “a crisis” and echoed Trump’s claims that he has a “higher plan” to exchange it, even if the president has but to free up any complete well being care plan.
“President Trump and I’ve a plan to beef up well being care and give protection to pre-existing prerequisites for each and every American,” Pence stated.
Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has additionally raised the chance the top courtroom may overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Pence refused to mention whether or not he wish to see a ban on abortion, however stated he’s anti-abortion, “and I don’t ask for forgiveness for it.”
Harris stated, “I will be able to at all times beef up a lady’s proper to make her personal resolution.”