SALT LAKE CITY (NewsNation Now) — Incumbent Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic opponent Sen. Kamala Harris were questioned about the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the future in the first and only vice presidential debate.
Harris was asked by moderator USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page about how a Biden administration, if elected, would handle the coronavirus pandemic. Harris called the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic “the greatest failure of any administration in history.”
“We’re looking at front line workers who have been treated like sacrificial workers. We’re looking at over 30 million, who in the last several months, had to file for unemployment,” said Harris. “On January 28, the vice president and president were informed about the nature of this pandemic. They were informed that it is lethal in consequence, that it is airborne, that it will affect young people and it would be contracted because it is airborne. And they knew what was happening and they didn’t tell you.”
Pence was asked about the administration’s response to the pandemic.
“I want the American people to know from the very first day President Trump has put the health of America first. President Trump did what no other American president had ever done,” said Pence. “He suspended all travel from China, the second-largest economy in the world. I can tell you, having led the White House Coronavirus Task Force, that the decision by President Trump brought us invaluable time to stand up to the greatest national mobilization since World War II and I believe it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives.”
Page then asked Pence about the event in the White House Rose Garden for Amy Coney Barrett.
“That Rose Garden event, there has been a great deal of speculation about it. I was there and my wife Karen was there and honored to be there. Many of the people at that event were actually tested for coronavirus,” said Pence. “It was an outdoor even that many of our scientists regularly and routinely advise. The difference here is President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates and not just mandates with coronavirus but a government takeover of health, a Green New Deal, all government. We’re about freedom and the freedom of the American people.”
Harris responded saying the Trump administration did not handle the pandemic properly.
“You respect the American people when you tell them the truth. You respect the American people when you have the courage to tell to be a leader speaking of those things you may not want people to hear so they can protect themselves,” said Harris. “This administration stood on information that if you had as a parent, if you had as a worker, knowing that you didn’t have enough money saved up — and now you’re standing in a food line because of the ineptitude of an administration that was unwilling to speak the truth to the American people.”