Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris clashed early and often over the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic during their debate on Wednesday (October 7), as the White House struggled to contain an outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump and dozens of others.
The policy-heavy debate stood in stark contrast to last week’s chaotic presidential debate, with Harris going on the attack on topics from healthcare to the economy, climate change and foreign policy, and Pence defending the Republican administration’s nearly four-year-old record.
“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” Harris said as the debate began at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
In response, Pence defended the U.S. administration’s efforts to battle the disease, including Trump’s decision in late January to restrict travel from the pandemic’s epicenter in China.
“I want the American people to know that from the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of America first,” he said.
The two candidates were separated by 12 feet (3.6 meters) and plexiglass shields, a reminder of the pandemic that has claimed 210,000 American lives and devastated the economy.
(Production: Vanessa Johnston)