Vice president’s calm presentation of facts contrasts a shrill Kamala Harris.
In Wednesday’s debate, moderator Susan Page of USA Today came out of the gate on the pandemic. Kamala Harris said we were witnessing the “greatest failure of any administration in history.” The Trump administration “said it was a hoax,” covered it up and “they still don’t have a plan.” Joe Biden, Harris said, would stress testing and contact tracing.
Page asked Mike Pence why the U.S. death toll was higher, and the vice president reminded viewers that President Trump suspended travel from China, which Biden opposed as xenophobic. The president’s national mobilization that saved hundreds of thousands of lives and he launched Operation Warp Speed for a vaccine. The Biden plan, Pence said, “looks like plagiarism, which is something Joe Biden knows about.”
Harris said she would take a vaccine if doctors approved it, but not if President Trump approved it. Pence took her to task for undermining public confidence and “playing politics with lives.” The vice president reminded viewers that the administration in 2009, by their advisor’s own admission “did everything wrong” on the swine flu epidemic that affected 60 million Americans.
Page said the recent White House event for Amy Coney Barrett was a “super spreader.” Harris cited the event as “ineptitude.” By contrast, Pence said, “Trump trusts people. They talk about mandates. We are about freedom.”
Page also raised the issue of possible presidential disability. Harris told viewers she was the first woman of color to be district attorney in San Francisco and the second black woman in the Senate. “Joe knows we share a purpose,” Harris said. Joe Biden had been “incredibly transparent,” on his health record, and on his taxes.
When Page turned to the economy, Harris repeated the story about Trump paying only $750 in taxes and wondered “what is influencing the president’s decisions?” Over many years, Joe “puts it all out there. Trump covers up everything.”
Mike Pence described President Trump as a businessman who has paid tens of millions in taxes and had issued stacks of financial disclosures. The vice president also reminded viewers of Joe Biden’s pledge to repeal the Trump tax cuts. Biden and Harris “want to bury our economy under a Green New Deal” and continue “surrender to China” by repealing the Trump tariffs.
Kamala Harris countered that Biden would not raise taxes on people with incomes under $400,000, and would not end fracking. And according to Harris, Biden was responsible for the recovery act and Trump “rode the coattails of Biden’s success.”
Harris touted the Affordable Care Act, which Pence described as a disaster. Pence cited Biden’s pledge to ban fracking, and abolish fossil fuels. Harris said a Biden administration would rejoin the Paris accord and Pence pointed out that the United States had reduced carbon emissions more than some countries still in the accord. On wildfires, “forest management has to be front and center,” Pence said, and according to government scientists there are no more hurricanes today than 100 years ago.
On foreign policy, Harris charged that Trump “betrayed our friends and embraced dictators.”
Russia interfered in 2016 and “Trump takes the word of Putin over our intelligence community.”
Leaving the Iran deal made us “less safe.”
Pence noted that under Trump NATO is contributing more, and that President Trump had unleashed the U.S. military against ISIS, taking down al-Baghdadi, and this very week two ISIS killers were brought to justice in the United States.
Harris repeated recent charges that Trump had called U.S. troops “suckers” and “losers.” Pence said such slanders were “absurd.” When Harris said Trump “lost” his trade war with China, Pence noted that “Joe Biden never fought a trade war with China,” where jobs departed and according to Obama were never coming back.
Pence lamented attacks on the Christian faith of judge Amy Coney Barrett. Harris said she and Joe Biden were “people of faith,” but with the election so close, the voters, not President Trump, should make the call on the Supreme Court seat. Harris would not say whether Biden would attempt to pack the court.
Susan Page said police had “broken into” the residence of Breonna Taylor, and Harris said justice had not been done in the case. “Our heart breaks” at the loss any innocent life, Pence said but “I trust our justice system.” Harris assumed “that an impaneled grand jury got it wrong.” On the other hand, there was “no excuse for what happened to George Floyd,” Pence said, but “no excuse for rioting” arson and such.
Page said Trump was “not committed to a peaceful transfer of power” and how would the debaters handle that? Harris said Biden would “not let anyone subvert our democracy” and that Trump “openly suppressed the vote.” Pence said “we are going to win this election” and reminded viewers that “Democrats spent the last four years trying to overturn the last election.” The vice president also cited recent declassifications that the plan to link Trump and Russia came from the Clinton campaign.
While touting her experience as a prosecutor, Harris left out a few things. On April 10, 2004, gang member David Hill pulled an AK-47 and killed police officer Isaac Espinoza, 29. The slain cop was not even in the ground when district attorney Harris, called for a life sentence instead of the death penalty. Harris never called Espinoza’s wife Renata, who told CNN last year, “I want people to know everything about her, even in the past, before they vote for her.”
Voters should know that in the 2010 race for attorney general the strongly Democrat Sacramento Bee endorsed Republican Steve Cooley. On election night Cooley was the clear winner but the Service Employees International Union, which worked on the Harris campaign, controlled the counting of “provisional” ballots. Three weeks later, they gathered enough to make Harris the winner by 0.8 percent. This is the same brand of voter fraud Democrats are deploying in 2020.
They expect Trump to win on election night but Hillary Clinton tells Biden not to concede “under any circumstances.” As the president says, we’ll have to see what happens.