The Vice Presidential Debate got underway last night, and while it may not have been as explosive as the Presidential Debate, it still had its share of eyebrow-raising moments, particularly from Mike Pence, who frequently interrupted Kamala Harris and rambled over the two-minute talking limit.
The two gave their takes on a variety of issues facing Americans, but the biggest matter of discussion was the coronavirus pandemic that continues to grip America. Harris kicked off the debate taking aim at the Trump Administration for their gross mishandling of the outbreak.
“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” Harris said. “On January 28th, the vice president and the president were informed about the nature of this pandemic. And they knew what was happening and they didn’t tell you…They knew, and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax.”
“This administration has forfeited its right to reelection based on this,” Harris declared.
Pence defended the administration, claiming that “I want the American people to know that from the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of America first.” He then praised Trump’s decision to close the U.S. borders to China, saying, “Joe Biden opposed that decision, he said it was xenophobic and hysterical.”
Harris said that whatever the Trump Administration was doing “clearly hasn’t worked,” considering that there are now “210,000 dead bodies.”
Another pressing topic was that of social injustices against Blacks, particularly the cases of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd that continue to be at the center of racial tensions in the United States. While Harris stood on the fact that justice had not been served in Taylor’s case, Pence defended the decision to not charge the officers who murdered the young woman in her home.
“Well, our heart breaks for the loss of any innocent American life, and the family of Breonna Taylor has our sympathies. But I trust our justice system, a grand jury that refused the evidence,” he said.
Pence added that it was “remarkable” that as a former prosecutor, Harris “would assume that an impaneled grand jury looking at all the evidence got it wrong.”
“I am a former career prosecutor; I know what I am talking about, bad cops are bad for good cops. We need reform of our policing in America and our criminal justice system,” Harris shot back.
Pence attempted to redeem himself, saying, “I think, look, with regard to George Floyd, there’s no excuse for what happened to George Floyd. And justice will be served.” However, he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to call out the protests, rioting, and looting that followed Floyd’s death.
“But there’s also no excuse for the rioting and looting that followed.”
The debate moderator, USA Today’s Susan Page, also drew criticism for her inability to stop Pence from interrupting Harris, saying variations of “thank you” or “thank you, Mr. Vice President” at least 22 times throughout the evening to no avail.
“You’ve had more time than she’s had so far,” Page said to Pence at one point. “I did not create the rules tonight.”
She seemingly lost her patience when Harris proceeded to cut off Pence the same way he had done to her throughout the debate.
“Your campaigns agreed to rules for tonight’s debate with the Commission on Presidential Debates. I’m here to enforce them,” Page snapped.
Another major topic of the night was climate change, and Pence would not directly say that it is a serious threat. Instead, he berated presidential candidate Joe Biden for supporting the Green New Deal, which Pence claims will cost the nation many jobs.
“Joe understands the West coast of our country is burning. Joe believes, again, in science,” Harris explained, referring to climate change as an “existential threat” to humanity.
All Pence had to respond to Harris was with, “The American people have always cherished our environment. They will continue to cherish it.”
And of course, it wouldn’t have been a debate without several meme-worthy moments, including a fly comfortably landing on Pence’s head as he spoke. Harris was clearly unimpressed with Pence’s lies, donning various facial expressions as he spoke, which took social media by storm.