A lot has happened since the first presidential debate to raise the stakes for the Oct. 7 face-off between the current Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris. Between a wild first presidential debate, President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, and all the general upheaval of the election cycle, the vice presidential debate was nerve-wracking before it started. But it started off (thankfully) civil and polite, despite contentious questions about the coronavirus pandemic. And then, barely 15 minutes in, Pence wanted to interrupt Harris on her response to him, and Harris wasn’t having it. After expressing visible frustration at being repeatedly interrupted by Pence, Kamala Harris told Mike Pence "I’m speaking" at the vice presidential debate — and it’s a big mood.
When discussing the fallout from the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, Harris was interrupted by Pence multiple times before stating, "Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking." As she reclaimed her time on the debate stage, she held up her hand and continued speaking, observably unfazed.
People loved the moment.
Considering the president’s health, which has stolen the spotlight as many other White House staff members have also fallen ill with the virus, the ongoing pandemic was front and center during tonight’s debate. Pence, one of the president’s most trusted advisers, was appointed by Trump as the head of the White House coronavirus task force on Feb. 26. This task force, responsible for coordinating and overseeing “the administration’s efforts to monitor, prevent, contain, and mitigate the spread" of COVID-19, was established on Jan. 29. It did not hold its first press briefing about the virus until mid-March, and in September, Trump admitted to purposefully “downplaying” the severity of the virus to avoid creating a public “panic.”
Harris didn’t hold back, stating that the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic was "the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country." After Pence, once again, proceeded to interrupt Harris in an attempt to justify the president’s pandemic response, she reminded him that it was her turn to speak: "If you don’t mind letting me finish," stated Harris, "we can have a conversation."
While the Trump administration has repeatedly justified its response to the pandemic, it continues to face criticism on its approach to dealing with this nation-wide crisis. As of Oct. 7, the virus has claimed the lives of over 210 thousand Americans, with low-income, minority, and elder communities being the most heavily affected. Although two more presidential debates are scheduled for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, the president’s health status has cast uncertainty on whether these events will continue as planned.
More to come…
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