Rachel Maguire
Rachel Maguire
2 min of reading
  • The two have a relatively easy task ahead of them in Tuesday's presidential debate.
  • Pence is the leader of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce.

On one level, the two have a relatively easy task ahead of them in Tuesday's vice-presidential debate. Pence quickly found himself on the defense, answering the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic. As the White House Coronavirus Task Force leader, Pence unequivocally defended the administration's decisions, arguing that the deaths of more than 210,000 Americans were indeed inevitable, despite scientific studies showing otherwise pointed out that the health of Americans has always been the President's top priority.

Foreign policy was barely discussed in the vice-presidential debate. Pence and Harris engaged in a substantive exchange about the United States' standing in the world. Harris brushed off the attack and pointed to the Trump administration's list of federal judge appointees, but ultimately declined to directly answer the question. Even before being asked, Pence sought to tie Biden to the Green New Deal, an anti-science campaign proposal introduced in 2019. The proposal calls for bold public spending to address climate change and other social ills, and claimed that Biden would ban fracking.

In response to the first question, Pence was talking about the Trump administration's coronavirus response. Scientists and vaccine makers say that if everything goes smoothly, some people could get a vaccine by the end of this year. Polls show Trump's promises of producing a vaccine in “record time” make people nervous that it will be rushed and, therefore, unsafe.

The debate opened with moderator Susan Page placing out rules and saying that each candidate would have two minutes to talk uninterrupted, unlike the first Trump and Biden presidential debate. Pence and Harris may not wear masks during the discussion. The video shows Pence running his best with his other candidates sitting on the stage with two plexiglass dividers installed on the stage next to the desks where the candidates will sit. The Trump campaign had argued that the dividers were not necessary for recent days. The Biden campaign argued that they were needed given the scale of the coronavirus outbreak at the White House.

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