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As the US elections near with November 3 set as the official date, US citizens have been watching keenly to see how the Democrats fare against the Republicans in public debates. DA vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris squared up against Republican candidate Mike Pence in a heated discussion which saw the duo tackle President Donald Trump’s controversial comments around Covid and his banning of travel from China which still saw 40 000 people come back during the period when the virus was at its peak. Also up for discussion were: the Republicans’ assertion that they added 11,6m jobs after 22m jobs were lost and the Democrats’ negative stance on fracking which has been a bone of contention for the Republicans who have supported it as a key energy source. Pence and Harris also went head to head on the number of manufacturing jobs lost during the pandemic and protests which featured neo-Nazi supporters. Watch the full video and transcript below to hear from Harris and Pence about pertinent US policies and issues. – Bernice Maune
Vice Presidential Debate (Stream 1)
Susan Page: Will be seated 12 feet apart. The audience is enthusiastic about their candidates, but they’ve agreed to express that enthusiasm only twice at the end of the debate, and now when I introduce the candidates. Please welcome California Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.
Vice President Pence: Thank you.
Susan Page: Senator Harris and Vice President Pence, thank you for being here. We’re meeting as President Trump and the first lady continue to undergo treatment in Washington after testing positive for covid-19. We send our thoughts and prayers to them for their rapid and complete recovery and for the recovery of everyone afflicted by the coronavirus. The two campaigns and the Commission on Presidential Debates have agreed to the ground rules for tonight. I’m here to enforce them on behalf of the millions of Americans who are watching. One note: No one in either campaign or at the commission or anywhere else has been told in advance what topics are raise or what questions I’ll ask. This 90 minute debate will be divided into nine segments of about ten minutes each. I’ll begin a segment by posing a question to each of you, sometimes the same question, sometimes a different question on the same topic. You will then have two minutes to answer without interruption by me or the other candidate. Then we’ll take six minutes or so to discuss the issue. At that point, although there will always be more to say, we’ll move on to the next topic. We want a debate that is lively, but Americans also deserve a discussion that is civil. These are tumultuous times, but we can and will have a respectful exchange about the big issues facing our nation. Let’s begin with the ongoing pandemic that has cost our country so much. Senator Harris, the coronavirus is not under control. Over the past week, Johns Hopkins reports that thirty nine states have had more covid cases over the past seven days than in the week before. Nine states have set new records. Even if a vaccine is released soon, the next administration will face hard choices. What would a Biden administration do in January and February that a Trump administration wouldn’t do? Would you impose new lockdowns for businesses and schools in hot spots? A federal mandate to wear masks? You have two minutes to respond without interruption.
Senator Harris: Thank you, Susan. Well, the American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country. And here are the facts. Two hundred and ten thousand dead people in our country in just the last several months. Over seven million people who have contracted this disease. One in five businesses closed. We’re looking at front line workers who have been treated like sacrificial workers. We are looking at over 30 million people who in the last several months had to file for unemployment. And here’s the thing. On January 28th, the vice president and the president were informed about the nature of this pandemic. They were informed that it’s lethal in consequence, that it is airborne, that it will affect young people and that it would be contracted because it is airborne. And they knew what was happening and they didn’t tell you. Can you imagine if you knew on January 28th as opposed to March 13th, what they knew, what you might have done to prepare? They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimized the seriousness of it. The president said, you’re on one side of his ledger, if you wear a mask, you’re on the other side of his ledger. If you don’t and in spite of all of that today, they still don’t have a plan. They still don’t have a plan. Well, Joe Biden does. And our plan is about what we need to do around a national strategy for contact tracing, for testing, for administration of the vaccine and making sure that it will be free for all. That is the plan that Joe Biden has and that I have, knowing that we have to get a hold of what has been going on and we need to save our country. And Joe Biden is the best leader to do that, and frankly, this administration has forfeited, thank you, senator, their right to reelection based on this.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. Vice President Pence, more than two hundred and ten thousand Americans have died of covid-19 since February. The U.S. death toll as a percentage of our population is higher than that of almost every other wealthy nation on Earth. For instance, our death rate is two and a half times that of Canada next door, you head the administration’s coronavirus task force. Why is the US death toll as a percentage of our population higher than that of almost every other wealthy country? And you have two minutes to respond without interruption.
Vice President Pence: Susan, thank you. And I want to thank the commission and the University of Utah for hosting this event. And Senator Harris, it’s a privilege to be on the stage with you. Our nation has gone through a very challenging time this year. But I want the American people to know from the very first day President Donald Trump has put the health of America first. Before there were more than five cases in the United States, all people who had returned from China, President Donald Trump did what no other American president had ever done, and that was he suspended all travel from China, the second largest economy in the world. Now, Senator, Joe Biden, Biden opposed that decision. He said it was xenophobic and hysterical.But I can tell you, having led the White House coronavirus task force at that decision alone by President Trump bought us invaluable time to stand up the greatest national mobilization since World War Two. And I believe it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives. Because with that time, we were able to reinvent testing. More than 115 million tests have been done to date. We were able to see to the delivery of billions of supplies. So our doctors and nurses had the resources support they needed. And we began really before the month of February, was asked to develop a vaccine and to develop medicines and therapeutics had been saving lives all along the way. And under President Trump’s leadership, Operation Warp Speed, we believe we’ll have literally tens of millions of doses of a vaccine before the end of this year. The reality is, when you look at the Biden plan, it reads an awful lot like what President Trump and I and our task force have been doing every step of the way. And quite frankly, when I look at their plan that talks about advancing testing, creating new PPE, developing a vaccine, it looks a little bit like plagiarism, which is something Joe Biden knows a little bit about. And I think the American people know that this is a president who has put the health of America first. And the American people, I believe, with my heart, can be proud of the sacrifices they have made. It saved countless American lives.
Susan Page: Senator Harris, would you like to respond?
Senator Harris: Absolutely. Whatever the vice president is claiming the administration has done, clearly it hasn’t worked. When you’re looking at over two hundred and ten thousand dead bodies in our country. American lives. That have been lost. Families that are grieving that loss. And the vice president of the task force.
Senator Harris: And knew on January 28th how serious this was. And then thanks to Bob Woodward, we learned that they knew about it. And then when that was exposed, the vice president said when asked, well, why didn’t you tell anybody? He said, because the president wanted people to remain calm.
Susan Page: Well, let’s give.
But, Suzanne, this is important. And I want to add, Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking. You.
Susan Page: Have 15 more seconds and then we’ll give the vice president a chance.
Senator Harris: So I want to ask the American people, how calm were you when you were panicked about where you’re going to get your next roll of toilet paper, how calm are you when your kids were sent home from school and you didn’t know when they could go back? How can you think when your children couldn’t see your parents because you were afraid they could kill them?
Vice President Pence
Let’s give Vice President Pence a chance to respond. Vice President, you have one minute to respond.
Vice President Pence: There’s not a day goes by that I haven’t thought of every American family that’s lost a loved one. And I want all of you to know that you’ll always be in our hearts and in our prayers. But when you say what the American people have done over these last eight months, hasn’t worked, that’s a great disservice to the sacrifices the American people have made. I’m afraid – the reality. If I may if I may finish Senator. The reality is, Dr. Fauci said, everything that he told the president in the Oval Office, the president told the American people. Now, President Trump, I will tell you, has boundless confidence in the American people. And he always spoke with confidence that we’d get through this together. But when you say it hasn’t worked, when Dr. Fauci and Dr. Bergson and our medical experts came to us in the second week of March, they said if the president didn’t take the unprecedented step of shutting down roughly half of the American economy, that we could lose two point two million Americans. And that’s the reality. Thank you. He also said, if we did everything right, Susan, we could still lose more than two hundred thousand Americans. Vice President. for one. Life lost is too many, Susan. But the American people, I believe, deserve credit for the sacrifices that they have made, putting the health of their family and their neighbors first, our doctors or nurses our first responders.
Susan Page: Thank you, Vice President Pence.
Vice President Pence: And I’m going to speak up on behalf of what the American people have done.
Susan Page: Vice President, since you were in the front row in a Rose Garden event, 11 days ago, what seems to have been a super spreader event for senior administration and congressional officials, no social distancing, few masks, and now a cluster of coronavirus cases among those who were there. How can you expect Americans to follow the administration’s safety guidelines to protect themselves from covid when you were at the White House have not been doing so?
Vice President Pence: Well, the American people have demonstrated over the last eight months that when given the facts. They’re willing to put the health of their families and their neighbors and people they don’t even know first. And President Trump and I have great confidence in the American people and in their ability to take that information and put it into practice. In the height of the epidemic, when we were losing a heartbreaking number of two thousand five hundred Americans a day, we surged resources to New Jersey and New York and New Orleans and Detroit. We told the American people what needed to be done and the American people made the sacrifices. When the outbreak in the Sunbelt happened this summer, again, Americans step forward. But the reality is the work of the president of the United States goes on. The vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States has come upon us and the president introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett, thank you. Thank you very much.
Vice President Pence: If I may say that Rose Garden event, there’s been a great deal of speculation about it. My wife, Karen and I were there and honored to be there. Many of the people who were at that event, Susan, actually were tested for coronavirus. And it was an outdoor event which all 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 not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health. Thank you. Thank you. Green New Deal, all government control. We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people.
Senator Harris: Let’s talk about respecting the American people. You respect the American when you tell them the truth, you respect the American people when you have the courage to be a leader. Speaking of those things that you may not want people to hear, but they need to hear so they can protect themselves. But this administration stood on information that if you had as a parent, if you had as a worker, knowing 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. So let’s talk about caring about the American people. The American people have had to sacrifice far too much because of the incompetence of this administration. It is asking too much of the people, it asking too much of the people. They would not be equipped with the information they need to help themselves to protect their parents and their children.
Susan Page: I’m sorry that Kamala Harris, Senator Harris, I mean, I’m sorry.
Senator Harris: That’s fine, I’m Kamala.
Susan Page: You’re Senator Harris, to me for life to get back to normal. Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts say that most of the people who can be vaccinated need to be vaccinated. But half of Americans now say they wouldn’t take a vaccine if it was released now. If the Trump administration approves a vaccine before or after the election, should Americans take it? And would you take it?
Senator Harris: If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely. But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.
Susan Page: Vice President Pence, there have been a lot of repercussions from this pandemic. In recent days, the president’s diagnosis of covid-19 has underscored the importance of the job that you hold and that you are seeking. That’s our second topic tonight. It’s the role of the vice president. One of you will make history on January 20th. You will be the vice president to the oldest president of the United States has ever had. Donald Trump will be 74 years old on inauguration day. Joe Biden will be 78 years old. That already has raised concerns among some voters, concerns that have been sharpened by President Trump’s hospitalization in recent days. Vice President Pence, have you had a conversation or reached an agreement with President Trump about safeguards or procedures when it comes to the issue of presidential disability? And if not, do you think you should? You have two minutes without interruption.
Vice President Pence: Well, Susan, thank you. Although I would like to go back.
Susan Page: I think we need to move on, but.
Vice President Pence: I would like to go back because the reality is that we’re going to have a vaccine, Senator, in record time, in unheard of time, in less than a year. We have five companies in phase three clinical trials and we’re right now producing tens of millions of doses. So the fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is is unconscionable. And, Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives. The reality is that we will have a vaccine, we believe, before the end of this year, and it will have the capacity to save countless American lives. And your continuous undermining of confidence in a vaccine is just unacceptable. And let me also say, you know, the reality is when you talk about about failure in this administration, we actually do know what failure looks like in a pandemic. It was 2009. The swine flu arrived in the United States. Thankfully, it ended up not being as lethal as the coronavirus. But before the end of the year when Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, not seven and a half million people contracted the swine flu, sixty million Americans contracted the swine flu. If the swine flu had been as lethal as the coronavirus in 2009, when Joe Biden was vice president, we would have lost two million American lives. His own chief of staff, Ron Klain, would say last year that it was pure luck, that they did, quote, everything possible wrong. And we learned from that. They left the strategic national stockpile empty. They left an empty and hollow plan. But we still learned from it. And I think-
Susan Page: Vice President Pence, I’m sorry. Your time is up.
Vice President Pence: What we have done. And Senator, please stop undermining confidence in a vaccine.
Susan Page: Senator Harris, let me ask you the same question that I asked Vice President Pence, which is, have you had a conversation or reached an agreement with Vice President Biden about safeguards or procedures when it comes to the issue of presidential disability? And if not, and if you win the election next month, do you think you should? You have two minutes uninterrupted.
Senator Harris: So let me tell you, first of all, the day I got the call from from Joe Biden, it was actually a Zoom call asking me to serve with him on this ticket, was probably one of the most memorable, memorable days of my life. I you know. I thought about my mother who came to the United States at the age of 19 and gave birth to me at the age of twenty five at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California. And the thought that I’d be sitting here right now, I know would make her proud. And she must be looking down on us. You know, Joe and I were raised in a very similar way. We were raised with values that are about hard work, about the value and the dignity of public service, and about the importance of fighting for the dignity of all people. And I think Joe asked me to serve with him because, you know, I have a career that included being elected the first woman district attorney of San Francisco, where I created models of innovation for law enforcement in terms of reform of the criminal justice system. I was elected the first woman of color and black woman to be elected attorney general of the state of California, where I ran the second largest Department of Justice in the United States, second only to the United States Department of Justice. And there I took on everything from transnational criminal organizations to the big banks that were taking advantage of homeowners to for profit colleges, that were taking advantage of veterans. And then, of course, now I serve in the United States Senate as only the second black woman ever elected to the United States Senate. I serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, where I’ve been in regular receipt of classified information about threats to our nation and hot spots around the world. I have traveled the world. I have met with our soldiers in our in war zones. And I think Joe has asked me to serve with him because he knows that we share, we share a purpose which is about lifting up the American people. And after the four years that we have seen of Donald Trump unifying our country around our common values and principles.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. Neither president nor Vice President Biden has released the sort of detailed health information that had become the modern norm until the 2016 election. And in recent days, President Trump’s doctors have given misleading answers or refused to answer basic questions about his health. And my question to each of you in turn is, is this information voters deserve to know? Vice President Pence, would you like to go first?
Vice President Pence: Well, Susan, thank you. And let me let me say, on behalf of the president and the first lady, how moved we’ve all been by the outpouring of prayers and concern for the president. And I do believe it’s emblematic of the prayers and the concern that have ushered forth for every American impacted by the coronavirus. But the care the president received at Walter Reed Hospital, the White House doctors, was exceptional. And the transparency that they practiced all along the way will continue because the American people have a right to know about the health and well-being of their president and we’ll continue to do that. But I’m just extremely grateful and was more than more than a little moved by the broad and bipartisan support. And Senator, I want to thank you and Joe Biden for your expressions of genuine concern. And I also want to congratulate you, as I did on that phone call, on the historic nature of your nomination. I never expected to be on this stage four years ago. So I know the feeling. But the reality is we’ve got an election before the American people in the midst of this challenging year. And the stakes have never been higher. I think the choice has never been clearer.
I want to give Senator Harris a chance to respond to the same question I asked, which is, do voters have a right to know more detailed health information about presidential candidates and especially about presidents, especially when they’re facing some kind of challenge?
Senator Harris: Absolutely. And that’s why Joe Biden has been so incredibly transparent. And certainly, by contrast, the president has not both in terms of health records, but also let’s look at taxes. We now know because of great investigative journalism that Donald Trump paid seven hundred and fifty dollars in taxes. When I first heard about it, I literally said, you mean seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars? And it was like, no, seven hundred and fifty dollars. We now know Donald Trump owes and is in debt for 400 million dollars. And just so everyone is clear, when we say in debt, it means you owe money to somebody. And it’d be really good to know who the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief, owes money to. Because the American people have a right to know what is influencing the president’s decisions, and is he making those decisions on the best interest of the American people, of you, or self-interest? So, Susan, I’m glad you asked about transparency because it has to be across the board. Joe has been incredibly transparent over many, many years. The one thing we all know about Joe, he puts it all out there. He he is honest. He is forthright. But Donald Trump, on the other hand, has been covering up everything.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. I want to give you a chance to respond, vice president.
Vice President Pence: Well, look, I respect the fact that Joe Biden spent 47 years in public life. I respect your public service as well.
Senator Harris: Thank you.
Vice President Pence: But the American people have a president who was businessman, who’s a job creator, who’s paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes. He’s created tens of thousands of American jobs. And the president said those public reports are not accurate. And and the president also released literally stacks of financial disclosures the American people can review just as the law allows. But the distinction here is that Joe Biden, 47 years in public service compared to President Donald Trump, who brought all of that experience four years ago.
Susan Page: Thank you, vice president.
Vice President Pence: And turned this economy around by cutting taxes, rolling back regulation.
Susan Page: Thank you. Thank you, Vice President Pence.
Vice President Pence: American energy, fighting for free and fair trade and all of that’s online if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Susan Page: You know, that’s a great segue into our third topic, which is about the economy. This has been another aspect of life for Americans that’s been so affected by this coronavirus. We have a jobs crisis brewing. On Friday, we learned that the unemployment rate had declined to seven point nine percent in September, but that job growth had stalled and that was before the latest round of layoffs and furloughs in the airline industry, at Disney and elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands of discouraged workers have stopped looking for work. Nearly 11 million jobs that existed at the beginning of the year haven’t been replaced. Those hardest hit include Latinos, blacks and women. Senator Harris, the Biden Harris campaign has proposed new programs to boost the economy. And you would pay for that new spending by raising four trillion dollars in taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations. Some economists warn that could curb entrepreneurial ventures that fuel growth and create jobs. Would raising taxes put the recovery at risk? And you have two minutes to answer uninterrupted.
Senator Harris: Thank you. On the issue of the economy, I think there couldn’t be a more fundamental difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Joe Biden believes you measure the health and the strength of America’s economy based on the health and the strength of the American worker and the American family. On the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who measures the strength of the economy based on how rich people are doing, which is why he passed a tax bill benefiting the top one percent and the biggest corporations of America, leading to a two trillion dollar deficit that the American people are going to have to pay for. On day one, joe Biden will repeal that tax bill. He’ll get rid of it. And what he’ll do with the money is invest it in the American people. And through a plan that is about investing in infrastructure, something that Donald Trump said he would do. I remember hearing about some infrastructure week. I don’t think it ever happened. But Joe Biden will do that. He’ll invest in infrastructure. It’s about upgrading our roads and bridges, but also investing in clean energy and renewable energy. Joe is going to invest that money in what we need to do around innovation. There was a time when our country believed in science and invested in research and development so that we were an innovation leader on the globe. Joe Biden will use that money to invest in education. So, for example, for folks who want to go to a two year community college, it will be free. If you come from a family that makes less than one hundred and twenty five thousand dollars, you’ll go to a public university for free. And across the board we’ll make sure that if you have student loan debt, it’s cut by ten thousand dollars. That’s how Joe Biden thinks about the economy, which is it’s about investing in the people of our country as opposed to passing a tax bill which had the benefit of letting American corporations go offshore to do their business.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. Vice President Pence, your administration has been predicting a rapid and robust recovery, but the latest economic report suggests that’s not happening. Should Americans be braced for an economic comeback that is going to take not months, but a year or more? You have two minutes to answer uninterrupted.
Vice President Pence: When President Trump and I took office, America had gone through the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. So when Joe Biden was vice president, they tried to tax and spend and regulate and bail our way back to a growing economy. President Trump cut taxes across the board. Despite what Senator Harris says, the average American family of four had two thousand dollars in savings in taxes. And with the rise in wages that occurred, most predominantly for blue collar, hard working Americans, the average household income for a family of four increased by four thousand dollars following President Trump’s tax cuts. But America, you just heard Senator Harris tell you. On day one, Joe Biden is going to raise your taxes. It’s really remarkable to think.
Senator Harris: That’s not what I said.
Vice President Pence: I mean, right after a time where we’re going through a pandemic that lost 22 million jobs at the height, we’ve already added back 11.6 million jobs, because we had a president who cut taxes, rolled back regulation and unleashed American energy, fought for free and fair trade, and secured four trillion dollars from the Congress of the United States to give direct payments to families, save 50 million jobs through the paycheck protection program. We literally have spared no expense to help the American people and the American worker through this. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want to raise taxes. They want to bury our economy under a two trillion dollar Green New Deal, which you were one of the original co-sponsors of in the United States Senate. And they want to abolish fossil fuels and ban fracking, which would cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs all across the heartland. And Joe Biden wants to go back to the economic surrender of China that when we took office, half of our international trade deficit was with China alone. And Joe Biden wants to repeal all of the tariffs that President Trump put into effect to fight for American jobs and American workers. Joe Biden says democracy is on the ballot. Make no mistake about it, Susan. The American economy, the American comeback is on the ballot with four more years of growth.
Susan Page: Thank you.
Vice President Pence: And opportunity and four more years of President Donald Trump. Twenty twenty one is going to be the biggest economic year in the history of this country.
Susan Page: Thank you, Vice President Pence. Senator Harris?
Senator Harris: Well, I mean, I thought we saw enough of it in last week’s debate. But I think this is supposed to be a debate based on fact and truth. And the truth and the fact is Joe Biden has been very clear he will not raise taxes on anybody who makes less than 400 thousand dollars a year.
Vice President Pence: He said he’s going to repeal the Trump tax cuts.
Senator Harris: Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking.
Vice President Pence: The importance is that you say the truth. Joe Biden has said twice in the debate last week that he’s going to repeal the Trump tax cuts. That was tax cuts that gave the average working family two thousand dollars in a tax break every single year, senator. That’s a laugh.
Senator Harris: That is absolutely not true.
Vice President Pence: Is he only cutting is he only going to repeal part of the Trump tax cuts?
Senator Harris: If you don’t mind letting me finish. We can then have a conversation. OK?
Vice President Pence: Please.
Senator Harris: OK, Joe Biden will not raise taxes on anyone who makes less than 400000 pounds a year. He has been very clear about that. Joe Biden will not. And fracking, he has been very clear about that. Joe Biden is the one who during the the Great Recession was responsible for the Recovery Act that brought America back. And now the Trump administration wants to take credit when they ran when they rode the coattails of Joe Biden’s success for to economy that they had at the beginning of their term. Of course, now the economy is a complete disaster. But Joe Biden on the one hand did that. On the other hand you have Donald Trump, who has reigned over a recession that being compared to the Great Depression. On the one hand, you have Joe Biden, who was responsible with President Barack Obama for the Affordable Care Act, which brought health care to over 20 million Americans and protected people with preexisting conditions. And what it also did is it saved those families who otherwise were going bankrupt because of hospital bills they could not afford. On the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who’s in court right now, trying to get rid of thank you for trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which means that you will lose protections if you have preexisting conditions. And I just this is very important, Suzanne.
Yes. And it’s about we need to we need to get vice president, just like –
Senator Harris: He interrupted me and I’d like to just finish. Please. If you have a preexisting condition, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, they’re coming for you. If you love someone who has a preexisting condition.
Thank you. Thank something for you.
Senator Harris: If you are under the age of 26 on your parents coverage, they’re coming for you.
Vice President Pence: Senator Harris, thank you. Let me give you a chance to respond.
Well, I hope we have a chance to talk about health care because Obamacare was a disaster for the American people. Remember it well. President Trump and I have a plan to to improve health care and protect preexisting conditions for every American. But look at Senator Harris. You’re you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.
You, yourself said on multiple occasions when you were running for president that you would ban fracking. Joe Biden looked at a supporter in the eye and pointed and said, I guarantee I guarantee that we will abolish fossil fuels. They have a two trillion dollar version of the Green New Deal, Susan, that your newspaper, USA Today, said really wasn’t that very different from the original Green New Deal. More taxes, more regulation banning fracking, abolishing fossil fuel, crushing American energy and economic surrender to China is a prescription for economic decline. President Trump and I will keep America growing. The V shape recovery that’s underway right now will continue with four more years of President Donald Trump.
Susan Page: Thank you very, very much, Vice President Pence. Once again, you’ve provided the perfect segue way to a new topic, which is climate change. And Vice President Pence, I’d like to pose the first question to you. This year we’ve seen record setting hurricanes in the South. Another one, hurricane Delta is threatening the Gulf, and we have seen record setting wildfires in the West. Do you believe, as the scientific community has concluded, that man made climate change has made wildfires bigger, hotter and more deadly. And it has made hurricanes wetter, slower and more damaging. You have two minutes uninterrupted.
Vice President Pence: Thank you Susan. Well first, I’m very proud of our record on the environment and on conservation. According to all of the best estimates, our Air and land are cleaner than any time ever recorded, and our waters, among the cleanest in the world. And just a little while ago, the president signed the Outdoors Act. It’s the largest investment in our public lands and public parks in 100 years. So President Trump has made a commitment to conservation and to the environment. Now, with regard to climate change, the climate is changing, but the issue is what’s the cause and what do we do about it? President Trump has made it clear that we’re going to continue to listen to the science. Now, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would put us back in the Paris Climate Accord. They’d impose the Green New Deal, which would crush American energy, would increase the energy costs of American families in their homes and literally would crush American jobs. And President Trump and I believe that the progress that we have made in a cleaner environment has been happening precisely because we have a strong free market economy. You know, what’s remarkable is the United States has reduced CO2 more than the countries that are still in the Paris Climate Accord, but we’ve done it through innovation. And we’ve done it through natural gas. And fracking. Which, Senator, the American people can go look at the record, and I know Joe Biden says otherwise now, as you do.
But the both of you repeatedly committed to abolishing fossil fuel and banning fracking. And so by creating the kind of American innovation, we’re actually steering toward a stronger and better environment. With regard to wildfire. President Trump and I believe the forest management has to be front and center. And even Governor Gavin Newsom from your state has agreed we’ve got to work on forest management. And with regard to hurricanes, the National Oceanic Administration tells us that actually is as difficult as they are. There are no more hurricanes today than there were a hundred years ago.
Susan Page: Thank you.
But many of the climate alarmists and hurricanes and wildfires to try and sell the green new deal. And President Trump and I are going to always put American jobs, American workers first.
Susan Page: Senator Harris, as the vice president mentioned, you co-sponsored the green new deal in Congress, but Vice President Biden said in last week’s debate that he does not support the Green New Deal. But if you look at the Biden Harris campaign website, it describes the Green New Deal as a crucial framework. What exactly would be the stance of a Biden Harris administration toward the Green New Deal? You have two minutes uninterrupted.
Senator Harris: So first of all, I will repeat and the American people know that Joe Biden will not ban fracking, that is a fact. That is a fact. I will repeat that Joe Biden has been very clear that he thinks about growing jobs, which is why he will not increase taxes for anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year. Joe Biden’s economic plan, Moody’s, which is a reputable Wall Street firm, has said will create 7 million more jobs than Donald Trump’s. And part of those jobs that will be created by Joe Biden are going to be about clean energy and renewable energy. Because, you see, Joe understands that the west coast of our country is burning, including my home state of California. Joe sees what is happening on the Gulf states, which are being battered by storms. Joe has seen and talked with the farmers in Iowa, whose entire crops have been destroyed because of floods. And so Joe believes again in science. I’ll tell you something, Susan. I served when I first got to the Senate on the committee that’s responsible for the environment. Do you know this administration took the word science off the website and then took the phrase climate change off the website? We have seen a pattern with this administration, which is they don’t believe in science. And Joe’s plan is about saying we’re going to deal with it, but we’re also going to create jobs. Donald Trump, when asked about the wildfires in California and the question was, you know, the science is telling us this. You know what Donald Trump said? Science doesn’t know. So let’s talk about who is prepared to lead our country over the course of the next 4 years on what is an existential threat to us as human beings. Joe is about saying we’re going to invest that in renewable energy, which is going to be about the creation of millions of jobs. We will achieve net zero emissions by 2050, carbon neutral by 2035. Joe has a plan. This has been a lot of talk from the Trump administration and really it has been to go backward instead of forward. We will also reenter the Climate Agreement with pride.
Susan Page: Senator Harris just said that climate change is an existential threat. Vice President Pence, do you believe that climate change poses an existential threat?
Vice President Pence: As I said, Susan, the climate is changing. We’ll follow the science. But once again, Senator Harris is denying the fact that they’re going to raise taxes on every American. Joe Biden said twice in the debate last week that on day one he was going to repeal the Trump tax cuts. Those tax cuts delivered 2000 dollars in tax relief to the average family of four across America. And with regard to banning fracking, I just recommend that people look at the record. You yourself said repeatedly that you would ban fracking. You were the first Senate co-sponsor of the Green New Deal. And while Joe Biden denied the Green New Deal, Susan, thank you for pointing out the Green New Deal is on their campaign website. And as USA Today said, it’s essentially the same plan as you co-sponsored with AOC when she submitted it in the Senate. And you just heard the senator say that she’s going to resubmit America to the Paris Climate Accord. Look, the American people have always cherished our environment. We’ll continue to cherish it. We’ve made great progress reducing CO2 emissions through American innovation and the development of natural gas through fracking. We don’t need a massive 2 trillion dollar Green New Deal that would impose all new mandates on American businesses and American families.
Susan Page: Thank you.
Vice President Pence: Joe Biden wants us to retrofit four million business buildings. It makes no sense. It will cost jobs. President Trump, thank you to America. First, he’s going to put jobs first and we’re going to take care of our environment and follow the science.
Senator Harris: On the issue of jobs. Senator, let’s talk about that. You, the vice president, earlier referred to it as part of what he thinks is an accomplishment, that the president’s trade war with China. You lost that trade war. You lost it. What ended up happening is because of a so-called trade war with China, America lost three hundred thousand manufacturing jobs. Farmers have experienced bankruptcy because of it. We are in a manufacturing recession because of it. And when we look at where this administration has been, there are estimates that by the end of the term of this administration, they will have lost more jobs than almost any other presidential administration. And the American people know what I’m talking about. You know, I think about 20 year olds. You know, we have a 20 year old, 20 something year old, who are coming out of high school and college right now. And you’re wondering, is there going to be a job there for me? We’re looking at people who are trying to figure how they’re going to pay rent by the end of the month. Almost half of American renters are worried about whether they’re going to be able to pay rent by the end of the month. This is where the economy is in America right now. And it is because of the catastrophe and the failure of leadership of this administration.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. Vice President Pence, let me give just 15 seconds to respond, because then I want to move on.
Vice President Pence: Well I’d love to respond, look, lost the trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it. Joe Biden has been a cheerleader for communist China through over the last several decades. And again, the senator, you’re entitled to your opinion. You’re not entitled to your own facts. When Joe Biden was vice president, we lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs and President Obama said they were never coming back. He said we needed a magic wand to bring them back in our first three years after we cut taxes back, regulation unleashed American energy. This administration saw 500,000 manufacturing jobs created. And that’s exactly the kind of growth we’re going to continue to see as we bring our nation through, thank you for, this pandemic. A green new deal, mandate for Paris climate accord. It’s going to kill jobs this time, just like it killed jobs.
Senator Harris: I just want to respond very quickly, 15 seconds and I can’t move. Thank you. Joe Biden is responsible for saving America’s auto industry, and you voted against it. So let’s set the record straight. Thank you.
Susan Page: I’d like to talk about China. We have as our next topic, we have no more complicated or consequential foreign relationship than the one with China. It is a huge market for American agricultural goods. It’s a potential partner in dealing with climate change and North Korea. And in a video tonight, President Trump again blamed it for the coronavirus, saying China will pay. Vice President Pence, how would you describe our our fundamental relationship with China? Competitors, adversaries, enemies? You have two minutes.
Vice President Pence: Thank you Susan. Before I leave that let me speak to voting records if I can. Everybody knows that NAFTA caused literally thousands of American factories to close. We saw automotive jobs go south of the border. President Trump fought to renegotiate NAFTA and the United States/Mexico/Canada agreement is now the law of the land. The American people deserve to know, Senator Kamala Harris was one of only ten members of the Senate to vote against the US MCA. It was a huge win for American autoworkers. It was a huge win for American farmers, especially dairy in the upper midwest. But Senator you said it didn’t go far enough on climate change. That you put your radical environmental agenda ahead of American autoworkers and ahead of American jobs. The American people deserve to know that. It’s probably why Newsweek Magazine said Harris was the most liberal member of the United States Senate in 2019. More liberal than Bernie Sanders, more more liberal than any of the others in the United States Senate. So now, with regard to China, Susan, first and foremost, China is to blame for the coronavirus and President Trump is not happy about it. He’s made that very clear, made it clear again today. China and the World Health Organization did not play straight with the American people. They did not let our personnel into China to get information on the coronavirus until the middle of February. Fortunately, President Trump, in dealing with China from the outset of this administration, standing up to China that had been taking advantage of America for decades in the wake of Joe Biden’s cheerleading for China, President Trump made that decision before the end of January to suspend all travel from China. And again, the American people deserve to know Joe Biden opposed President Trump’s decision to suspend all travel from China. He said it was hysterical, he said it was xenophobic. And we’re going to continue to stand strong. We want to improve the relationship. We’re going to level the playing field. We’re going to hold China accountable for what they did to America with the coronavirus.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris, let me ask you the same question that I asked the vice president. How would you describe our fundamental relationship to China? Are we competitors, adversaries, enemies? You’ll have two minutes uninterrupted.
Senator Harris: Susan, the Trump administration’s perspective and approach to China has resulted in the loss of American lives, American jobs and America’s standing. There’s a weird obsession that President Trump has had with getting rid of whatever accomplishment was achieved by President Obama and Vice President Biden. For example, they created within the White House an office that basically was responsible for monitoring pandemics. They got away. They got rid of it. There was a team of disease experts that President Obama and Vice President Biden dispatched to China to monitor what is now predictable and what might happen. They pulled them out. We now are looking at 210,000 Americans who have lost their lives. Let’s look at the job situation we mentioned before, the trade deal, the trade war they wanted to call it with China. It resulted in the loss of over 300 manufacturing jobs and a manufacturing recession, and the American consumer paid thousands of dollars more for goods because of that failed war, they called it. Then lets talk about standing. Pew, a reputable research firm, has done an analysis that shows that leaders of all our formerly allied countries decided that they hold in greater esteem and respect Xi Jinping, the head of the Chinese Communist Party, than they do Donald Trump, the president of the United States, the commander in chief of the United States. This is where we are today because of a failure of leadership by this administration.
Susan Page: Senator Harris, we’ve seen changes in the in the role of the United States in terms of global leadership over the past four years. And, of course, times do change. What’s your definition? We’ve seen strains with China, of course, as the Vice President mentioned. We’ve seen strains with our traditional allies in NATO and elsewhere. What is your definition of the role of American leadership in 2020?
Senator Harris: I love talking with Joe about a lot of these issues. And, you know, Joe, I think he said it quite well. He says, you know, foreign policy might sound complicated, but really, it’s relationships. Just think about it as relationships. And so we know in our personal and professional relationships, you’ve got to keep your word to your friends. You’ve got to be loyal to your friends. People who have stood with you, you’ve got to stand with them. You’ve got to know who your adversaries are, and keep them in check. But what we have seen with Donald Trump is that he has betrayed our friends and embraced dictators around the world. Let’s take for example Russia I serve on the Intelligence Committee of the United States Senate. America’s intelligence community told us Russia interfered in the election of the president of the United States in 2016 and his plan in twenty twenty. Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, said the same. But Donald Trump, the commander in chief of the United States of America, prefers to take the word of Vladimir Putin over the word of the American intelligence community. You look at our friends at NATO, he has walked away from agreements. You can look at the Iran nuclear deal, which now has put us in a position where we are less safe because they are building up what might end up being a significant nuclear arsenal. We were in that deal, guys. We were in the Iran nuclear deal with friends, with allies around the country. And because of Donald Trump’s unilateral approach to foreign policy, coupled with his isolationism, he has pulled us out and made America less safe. So Susan, it’s about relationships. And the thing that has always been part of the strength of our nation, in addition to our great military, has been that we keep our word. But Donald Trump doesn’t understand that because he doesn’t understand what it means, to be honest.
Susan Page: Thank you.
Vice President Pence: Susan.
Susan Page: Thank you. Thank you, Senator Harris. Vice President Pence, I’m going to give you a chance to respond.
Vice President Pence: Well, thank you. Well, President Trump kept his word when we moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel. When Joe Biden was vice president, they promised to do that and they never did. We stood strong with our allies, but we’ve been demanding. NATO is now contributing more to our common defense than ever before, thanks to President Trump’s leadership. We’ve strengthened our alliances across the Asia Pacific. And we’ve stood strong against those who would do us harm. You know when President Trump came into office, ISIS had captured an area of the Middle East the size of Pennsylvania. But President Trump unleashed the American military and our armed forces destroyed the ISIS caliphate and took down their leader, al-Baghdadi, without one American casualty. Al Baghdadi Today, two of the ISIS killers responsible for Kayla Mueller’s murder were brought to justice in the United States. Jihadi John was killed in the battlefield, along with the other brutal reality is that when Joe Biden was vice president, we had an opportunity to save Kayla Mueller. Breaks my heart to reflect on about the military, came into the Oval Office, presented a plan. They said they knew where Kayla was. Baghdadi had held her for 18 months, abused her mercilessly before they killed her. But when Joe Biden was vice president, they hesitated for a month. And when armed forces finally went in, it was clear she’d been moved two days earlier. And her family says with a heart that broke the heart of every American, that if President Donald Trump had been president, they believe Kayla would be alive today. Thank you. We destroyed got us out of the vice president Putin and when Qassem Soleimani was traveling to Baghdad. Thank you for you. Harm to Americans, President Donald Trump. Thank you, vice president. And America is is safer. Our allies are safer. And the American people know President Donald Trump will never. Thank you, vice president, take action.
Susan Page: And I would like to give Senator Harris a chance to respond, but not at such great length, because, of course, there are other topics we want to talk about.
Senator Harris: I would like equal time.
Susan Page: Yes.
Senator Harris: Thank you.
Susan Page [20:58:12] Please go ahead.
Senator Harris: First of all, to the Mueller family. I know about your daughter’s case and I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. What happened to her is awful. And it should have never happened. And I know Joe feels the same way, and I know that President Obama feels the same way. But you mentioned Soleimani. Let’s let’s start there. So after the strike on Soleimani, there was a counter strike on our troops in Iraq. And they suffered serious brain injuries. And do you know what? Donald Trump dismissed them as? Headaches. And this is about a pattern of Donald Trump’s where he has referred to our men who are serving in our military as suckers and losers. Donald Trump, who went to Arlington Cemetery and stood above the graves of our fallen heroes and said, what’s in it for them? Because, of course, you know, he only thinks about what’s in it for him. Let’s take what he said about John McCain, a great American hero and Donald Trump says he doesn’t deserve to be called a hero because he was a prisoner of war. And this is very important when you want to talk about who is the current commander in chief and what they care about and what they don’t care about. Public reporting that Russia had bounties on the heads of American soldiers. And you know what a bounty is? It’s somebody puts a price on your head and they will pay it if you are killed. And Donald Trump had talked at least six times to Vladimir Putin and never brought up the subject. Joe Biden would never do that. Joe Biden, Joe Biden would hold Russia to account for any threat to our nation’s security or to our troops who are sacrificing their lives for the sake of our democracy and our safety.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. This is such an important issue, but we have other important issues as well. And I want to make sure we have a chance to really talk about that.
And look, she has 15 seconds because I gotta have more than. Well I’m sorry Vice President Pence you’ve had more time than she’s had so far.
Vice President Pence: The slanders against President Donald Trump regarding men and women of our armed forces are absurd.
Susan Page: I’m sorry Vice President.
Vice President Pence: My son is a captain in the United States Marines Corps, my son-in-law is deployed in the United States Navy, I can assure all of you, the sons and daughters serving in our military, President Donald Trump not only respects but reveres all of those who serve in our armed forces. And any suggestion otherwise is ridiculous.
American people deserve answers. American people decided to know vice president. I did not Susan. I did not read the notes for tonight. Joe Biden.
Susan Page: Your campaigns agreed to the rules for tonight’s debate with the commission president debates. I’m here to enforce them, which involves moving from one topic to another, giving roughly equal time to both of you, which is what I’m trying very hard to.
Vice President Pence: Go right ahead.
Susan Page: So I want to go ahead and move to the next topic, which is an important one as the last topic was, and that is the Supreme Court. On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to open hearings on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Senator Harris, you’ll be there as a member of the committee. Her confirmation would cement the court’s conservative majority and make it more likely open to more abortion restrictions, even to overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. Access to abortion would then be up to the states, Vice President Pence, you’re the former governor of Indiana, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, what would you want Indiana to do? Would you want your home state to ban all abortions? You have two minutes uninterrupted.
Vice President Pence: Well, thank you for the question, but I’ll use a little bit of my time to respond to that very important issue before. The American people deserve to know, Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general, was responsible for the death of hundreds of American service members. When the opportunity came, we saw him headed to Baghdad, kill more Americans. President Trump didn’t hesitate and Qassem Soleimani is gone. But you deserve to know the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris actually criticized the decision to take out Salim Qassem Soleimani. It’s really inexplicable. But with regard to Joe Biden, it’s explainable because history records that Joe Biden actually opposed the raid against Osama bin Laden. It’s absolutely essential that we have a commander in chief who will not hesitate to act to protect American lives and to protect American service members. And that’s what you have in President Donald Trump. Now with regard to the Supreme Court of the United States. Let me say President Trump and I could not be more enthusiastic about the opportunity to see Judge Amy Coney Barrett become Justice Amy Coney Barrett. And she’s a brilliant woman, and she will bring a lifetime of experience and a sizeable American family to the Supreme Court of the United States. And our hope is that in the hearing next week, unlike Justice Kavanaugh received with treatment from you and others, we hope she gets a fair hearing. And we particularly hope that we don’t see the kind of attacks on her Christian faith that we saw before. The Democrat chairman of the Judiciary Committee, before when when Judge Barrett was being confirmed for the Court of Appeals, expressed concern that the dogma of her faith lived loudly in her. Dick Durbin of Illinois said that it was a concern. Senator, I know one of our judicial nominees you actually attacked because they were a member of the Catholic Knights of Columbus, just because the Knights of Columbus holds pro-life views. Thank you. Thank you, vice president. So that when the hearing takes place, the thank you vice president Judge Amy Coney Barrett will be respected. Thank you . respectfully voted in confirming the Supreme Court of the United.
Susan Page: Senator Harris, you’re the senator from and former attorney general of California. So let me ask you a parallel question to the one I posed to the vice president. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what would you want California to do? Would you want your home state to enact no restrictions on access to abortion? And you have 2 minutes uninterrupted.
Senator Harris: Thank you, Susan. First of all, Joe Biden and I are both people of faith and it’s insulting to suggest that we would knock anyone for their faith. And in fact, Joe, if elected, will be only the second practicing Catholic as president of the United States. On the issue of this of this nomination, Joe and I are very clear, as are the majority of the American people, we are twenty seven days before the decision about who will be the next president of the United States. And you know before when this conversation has come up, it’s been about election year or election time. We’re literally in an election. Over four million people have voted. People are in the process of voting right now. And so Joe has been very clear, as the American people are, let the American people fill that seat in the White House and then we’ll fill that seat on the United States Supreme Court. And to your point, Susan, to the issues before us couldn’t be more serious. There’s the issue of choice. And I will always fight for a woman’s right to make a decision about her own body. It should be her decision and not that of Donald Trump and and the vice president, Michael Pence. But let’s also look at what else is before the court. It’s the Affordable Care Act. Like literally in the midst of a public health pandemic when over two hundred and ten thousand people have died and seven million people probably have what will be in the future considered a preexisting condition because you contracted the virus. Donald Trump is in court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. And I said it before and it bears repeating. This means that there will be no more protections if they win for people with preexisting conditions. This means that over 20 million people will lose your coverage. It means that if you’re under the age of 26, you can’t stay on your parents’ coverage anymore. And here’s the thing. The contrast couldn’t be more clear. They’re trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Joe Biden is saying, let’s expand coverage. Let’s give you a choice of a public option or private coverage. Let’s bring down premiums.
The Senate. Let’s lower Medicare eligibility to 60. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Harris: That’s true leadership.
Susan Page: You know, you mentioned earlier, Vice President Pence, that the president was committed to maintaining protections for people with preexisting conditions. But you do have this court case that you are supporting your administration’s supporting, that would strike down the Affordable Care Act. The president says, President Trump says that he’s going to protect people with preexisting conditions, but he has not explained how he would do that. And that was one of the toughest nuts to crack when they were passing the Affordable Care Act. So tell us specifically, how would your administration protect Americans with preexisting conditions to have access to affordable insurance if the Affordable Care Act is struck down?
Vice President Pence: Well, thank you, Susan. But let me just say, addressing your very first question, I couldn’t be more proud to serve as vice president to a president who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life. I’m pro life. I don’t apologize for it. And this is another one of those cases where there’s such a dramatic contrast. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth, late term abortion. They want to increase funding to Planned Parenthood of America. For our part, I would never presume how Judge Amy Coney Barrett would rule on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we’ll continue to stand strong for the right to life. When you speak about the Supreme Court, though, I think the American people really deserve an answer, Senator Harris. Are you and Joe Biden going to pack the court if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed? I mean, there’ve been 29 vacancies on the Supreme Court during presidential election years from George Washington to Barack Obama. Presidents have nominated in all 29 cases. But your part is actually openly advocating adding seats to the Supreme Court which has had nine seats for 150 years if you don’t get your way. This is a classic case of if you can’t win by the rules, you’re going to change the rules. Now, you’ve refused to answer the question. Joe Biden has refused to answer the question. So I think the American people would really like to know. If Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, are you and Joe Biden, if somehow you win this election, going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?
Senator Harris: I’m so glad we went through a little history lesson. Let’s do that a little more. In 1864.
Vice President Pence: I’d like you to answer the question.
Susan Page: Yes.
Senator Harris: Mr. Vice president, I’m speaking, I’m speaking. OK? In 1864 one of the, I think, political heroes, certainly of the president and I assume if you also, Mr. Vice President, Is Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was up for reelection and it was 27 days before the election and a seat became open on the United States Supreme Court. Abraham Lincoln’s party was in charge, not only of the White House, but the Senate. But Honest Abe said, “It’s not the right thing to do. The American people deserve to make the decision about who will be the next president of the United States, and then that person can select who will serve for a lifetime on the highest court of our land.” And so Joe and I are very clear, the American people are voting right now, and it should be their decision about who will serve on this most important body for a lifetime.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris.
Vice President Pence: The people, Susan, are voting right now. They’d like to know if you and Joe Biden are going to pack the Supreme Court if you don’t get your way in this nomination.
Let’s talk about packing… That once we get to the non answer. Joe Biden gave an answer. You know, good people deserve a straight powers,.
Vice President Pence: If you haven’t figured it out yet, the straight answer is that they’re going to pack the Supreme Court, if they somehow win this election. Men and women, I got to tell you, people across this country, if you cherish our Supreme Court, if you cherish the separation of powers, you need to reject the Biden Harris ticket. Come November the 3rd re-elect, President Donald Trump and we’ll stand by that separation powers and a nine seat Supreme Court.
Senator Harris: Let’s talk about packing the court then. Let’s talk about. I’m about to.
So. The Trump Pence administration has been, because I sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Susan, as you mentioned, and I’ve witnessed the appointments for lifetime appointments to the federal courts, district courts, courts of appeal.
People who are purely ideological, people who have been reviewed by by legal professional organizations and found to have been not competent, are substandard, and do you know that of the 50 people who President Trump appointed to the Court of Appeals for lifetime appointments, not one is black. This is what they’ve been doing. You want to talk about packing a court, let’s have that discussion.
Susan Page: Alright, thank you Senator. Let’s go on and talk about the issue of racial justice.
Vice President Pence: I just want the record to reflect that she never answered the question, but the American people, maybe in the next debate, maybe Joe Biden will answer the question, but I think the American people know the answer.
Susan Page: Thank you, Vice President.
In March, Breonna Taylor, a 26 year old emergency room technician in Louisville, was shot and killed after police officers executing a search warrant on a narcotics investigation broke into her apartment. The police said they identified themselves. Taylor’s boyfriend said he didn’t hear them do that. He used a gun registered to him to fire a shot which wounded an officer. The officers then fired more than 20 rounds into the apartment. The say they were acting in self defence. None of them have been indicted in connection with her death. Senator Harris, in the case of Breonna Taylor, was justice done? You have two minutes.
Senator Harris: I don’t believe so. I’ve talked with Breonna’s mother, Tamika Palmer, and her family and her family deserves justice. She was a beautiful young woman. She had as her life goal to become a nurse and she wanted to become an EMT to first learn what’s going on out on the street so she could then become a nurse and save lives. And her life was taken unjustifiably and tragically and violently. And it brings me to, you know, the eight minutes and forty six seconds that America witnessed, during which an American man was tortured and killed under the knee of an armed, uniformed police officer. And people around our country, of every race, of every age, of every gender, perfect strangers to each other marched shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, fighting for us to finally achieve that ideal of equal justice under law. And.I was a part of those peaceful protests. And I believe strongly that, first of all, we are never going to condone violence, but we always must fight for the values that we hold dear, including the fight to achieve our ideals. And that’s why Joe Biden and I have said, on this subject. And look, I’m a former career prosecutor, I know what I’m talking about. Bad cops are bad for good cops. We need reform of our policing in America and our criminal justice system. Which is why Joe Biden and I, will immediately ban chokeholds and karate holds. George Floyd would be alive today if we did that. We will require a national registry for police officers who break the law. We will, on the issue of criminal justice reform, get rid of private prisons, and cash bail. And we will decriminalise marijuana and we will expunge the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana possession. This is a time for leadership on a tragic, tragic issue of unarmed black people in America being killed.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. Vice President Pence, let me pose the same question to you. In the case of Breonna Taylor, was justice done? You have two minutes uninterrupted.
Vice President Pence: Well our heart breaks for the loss of innocent, any innocent American life. And the family of Breonna Taylor has our sympathies. But I trust our justice system. A grand jury that review the evidences. And it really is remarkable that as a former prosecutor, that you would assume that an empanneled grand jury, looking at the evidence, got it wrong. But you’re entitled to your opinion Senator. I think, look, with regards to George Floyd, there’s no excuse to what happened to George Floyd. But there’s also no excuse for the rioting and looting that followed. I mean, it really is astonishing. Flora Westbrook is with us here tonight in Salt Lake City. This few weeks ago, I stood at what used to be a her salon, was burned to the ground by rioters and looters. And Flora is still trying to put her life back, together. And I must tell you this presumption that you hear consistently from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, that America is systematically racist.
That as Joe Biden said that he believes that law enforcement has an implicit bias against minorities. That is a great insult to the men and women who serve in law enforcement. And I want everyone to know who puts on the uniform of law enforcement every day. President Trump and I stand with you. And it is remarkable that that when Senator Tim Scott tried to pass a police reform bill, brought together a group of Republicans and Democrats. Senator Harris, you got up and walked out of the room and then you filibustered Senator Tim Scott’s bill on the Senate floor that would have provided new accountability, new repeat resources. But we don’t have to choose between supporting law enforcement, improving public safety and supporting our African-American neighbors for all of our minorities under President Trump’s leadership, we will always stand with law enforcement, and we’ll do what we’ve done from day one and improve the lives of African Americans. Record employment, record investments in education and we’ll fight for school choice for all of our minorities.
Senator Harris: I’d like to respond.
Susan Page: Senator Harris.
Senator Harris: I will not sit here and be lectured by the vice president on what it means to enforce the laws of our country. I am the only one on this stage who has personally prosecuted everything from child sexual assault to homicide. I’m the only one on this stage who has prosecuted the big banks for taking advantage of Americas homeowners. I’m the only one on this stage who prosecuted for profit colleges for taking advantage of our veterans. And the reality of this is that we are talking about an election in twenty seven days, where last week, the President of the United States took a debate stage in from of seventy million Americans, and refused to condemn white supremacists.
Vice President Pence: Not true. Not true.
Senator Harris: It wasn’t like he didn’t have a chance. He didn’t do it. And then he doubled down. And then he said, when pressed he said “Stand back, stand by”, and this is a part of a pattern of Donald Trump’s. He called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He instituted as his first act a Muslim ban. He, on the issue of Charlottesville, where people were peacefully protesting the need for racial justice, where a young woman was killed. And on the other side, there were neo-Nazis carrying tiki torches, shouting racial epithets, anti-Semitic slurs, And Donald Trump, when asked about it, said there were fine people on both sides. This is who we have as the president of the United States. And America, you deserve better. Joe Biden will be a president who brings our country together.
Susan Page: Senator Harris.
Senator Harris: And recognizes the beauty in our diversity and the fact that we are so much more in common than what separates us.
Susan Page: Vice president. Let me give you a minute to respond.
Vice President Pence: Thank you, Susan. I appreciate that very much. You know, I think this is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country, Susan, that you selectively edited, just like Senator Harris did, comments that President Trump and I and others on our side of the aisle make it. Senator Harris conveniently omitted after that, after the president made comments about people on either side of the debate over monuments, he condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and has done so repeatedly. Your concern that he doesn’t condemn neo-Nazis? President Trump has Jewish grandchildren. His daughter and son in law are Jewish. This is a president who who respects and cherishes all of the American people that you talk about having personally prosecuted. I’m glad you brought up your record, Senator. Thank you. But that’s I really need to make this point. When you were when you were D.A. in San Francisco, when you left office, African-Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and Hispanics. When you were attorney general of California, you increased the support, the disproportionate incarceration of blacks in California. You did nothing on criminal justice reform. In California, you didn’t lift a finger to pass the first step back on Capitol Hill. I mean, the reality is your record speaks for itself. President Trump and I have fought for criminal justice reform, we fought for educational choice and opportunities for African Americans. And we’ll do it for 4 more years.
Susan Page: You know there is no more important issue than the final issue that we’re going to talk about tonight.
Senator Harris: But Susan, he attacked my record and I would like the opportunity to respond.
Susan Page: Let me give you 30 seconds because we’re running out of time.
Senator Harris: I appreciate that.
First of all, having served as the attorney general of the state of California, the work that I did is a model of what our nation needs to do and we will be able to do under a Joe Biden presidency. Our our agenda includes what this administration has failed to do. It will be about not only instituting a ban on chokeholds in crowded halls. Thank you. Not only thank you, Senator. I would like to go through.
Susan Page: These are points that you made earlier in the hour. And I want to talk about the election itself before we.
Senator Harris: But I want to talk about the connection between what Joe and I will do and my record, which includes I was the first statewide officer to institute a requirement that my agents would wear body cameras and keep them on full time. We were the first to initiate a requirement that there would be a training for law enforcement on implicit bias. Because yes, Joe Biden and I recognize that implicit bias does exist, Mr. Vice President, contrary to what you may believe. We did the work of instituting reforms that were about investing in reentry. This is the work that we have done and the work we will do going forward. And again, I will not be lectured by the vice president on our record of what we have done in terms of law enforcement and keeping our communities safe and a commitment to reforming the criminal justice system of America.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. And I’d like to pose the first I’d like you to respond first to the question on our final topic, the election itself. President Trump has several times refused to commit himself to a peaceful transfer of power after the election. If your ticket wins and President Trump refuses to accept a peaceful transfer of power, what steps would you and Vice President Biden then take? What happens next? You have two minutes.
Senator Harris: So I’ll tell you, Joe and I are particularly proud of the coalition that we’ve built around our campaign. We probably have one of the broadest coalitions of folks that you’ve ever seen in a presidential race. Of course, we have the support of Democrats, but also independents and Republicans. In fact, seven members of President George W. Bush’s cabinet are supporting our ticket. We have the support of of Colin Powell, Cindy McCain, John Kasich, over 500 generals, retired generals and former national security experts and advisors are supporting our campaign. And I believe they are doing that because they know that Joe Biden has a deep, deep seated commitment to fight for our democracy and to fight for the integrity of our democracy. And to bring integrity back to the White House. And so we believe in the American people. We believe in our democracy. And here’s what I’d like to say to everybody. Vote, please vote. Vote early, come up with a plan to vote. Go to iwillvote.com. You can also go to joebiden.com. We have it within our power in these next twenty seven days to make the decision about what will be the course of our country for the next four years. And it is within our power. And if we use our vote and we use our voice, we will win and we will not let anyone subvert our democracy with what Donald Trump has been doing as he did on the debate stage last week, when, again, in front of 70 million people, he openly attempted to suppress the vote. Joe Biden, on the other hand, on that same debate stage, because clearly Donald Trump doesn’t think he can run on a record because it’s a failed record, Joe Biden on that stage said, hey, just please vote. So I’ll repeat what Joe said. Please vote.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator. Vice President Pence, President Trump has several times refused to commit himself to a peaceful transfer of power after the election. If Vice President Biden is declared the winner and President Trump refuses to accept a peaceful transfer of power, what would be your role and responsibility as vice president? What would you personally do? You have two minutes.
Vice President Pence: Well, Susan, first and foremost, I think we’re going to win this election because while Joe Biden and Kamala Harris rattle off a long litany the establishment in Washington, DC and the establishment that Joe Biden has been a part of for 47 years, President Donald Trump has launched a movement of everyday Americans from every walk of life. And I have every confidence that those same Americans that delivered that historic victory in 2016, they see this president’s record, where we rebuild our military, we revived our economy through tax cuts and rolling back regulation, fighting for fair trade, unleashing American energy. We appointed conservatives to our federal courts at every level. And we stood with the men and women of law enforcement every single day. And I think that movement of Americans has only grown stronger in the last four years. When you talk about accepting the outcome of the election, I must tell you, Senator, your party has spent the last three and a half years trying to overturn the results of the last election. It’s amazing. When Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, the FBI actually spied on President Trump in my campaign. I mean, there were documents released this week that the CIA actually made a referral to the FBI documenting that those allegations were coming from the Hillary Clinton campaign. And, of course, we’ve all seen the avalanche, what you put the country through for the better part of three years until it was found that there was no obstruction, no collusion, case closed. And then, Senator Harris, you and your colleagues in the in the Congress trying to impeach the president of the United States over a phone call, and now Hillary Clinton has actually said to Joe Biden that under, in her words, under no circumstances should he concede the election. So let me just say, I think we’re going to win this election. President Trump and I are fighting every day in courthouses to prevent Joe Biden and Kamala Harris from changing the rules and creating this universal mail in voting that will create a massive opportunity for voter fraud. And we have a free and fair election. We know we’re going to have confidence in it. And I believe in all my heart, the president, Donald Trump, is going to be reelected for four more years.
Susan Page: You know, I’ve written all the questions that I’ve asked tonight. But for the final question of the debate, I’d like to read a question and someone else wrote. The Utah Debate Commission asked students in the state to write essays about what they would like to ask you. And I want to close tonight’s debate with the question posed by Breckland Brown. She’s an 8th grader at Springville Junior High in Springville, Utah. And here’s what she wrote. Quote, “When I watch the news, all I see is arguing between Democrats and Republicans. When I watch the news, all i see is citizen fighting against citizen. When I watch the news, all I see are two candidates from opposing parties trying to tear each other down. If our leaders can’t get along, how are the citizens supposed to get along?” And then she added, “Your examples could make all the difference to bring us together,” end quote. So to each of you in turn, I’d like you to take one minute and respond to Breckland. Vice President Pence, you have one minute.
Vice President Pence: Breckland, it’s a wonderful question. They were on polar opposites on the Supreme Court of the United States, one very liberal, one very conservative. But what’s been learned since her passing was the two of them and their families were the very closest of friends. I mean, here in America, we can disagree. We can debate vigorously, as Senator Harris and I have on this stage tonight. But when the debate is over, we come together as Americans and that’s what people do in big cities and small towns all across this country. So I just want to encourage you, Breckland, I want to tell you that we’re going to work every day to have government as good as our people. And the American people each and every day love a good debate. We love a good argument, but we always come together and are always there for one another.
Susan Page: Thank you.
Vice President Pence: In times of need. And we’ve especially learned that.
Susan Page: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
Vice President Pence: Through the difficulties of this year.
Susan Page: Senator Harris, what would you say to Breckland?
Senator Harris: First of all, I love hearing from our young leaders. And when I hear her words, when I hear your words, Breckland, I know our future is bright. Because it is that perspective on who we are and who we should be that is a sign of leadership and is something we should all aspire to be. And that, you know, that brings me to Joe, Joe Biden. One of the reasons that Joe decided to run for president is after Charlottesville, which we talked about earlier. It so troubled him and upset him like it did all of us, that there was that kind of hate and division. What propelled Joe to run for president was to see that over the course of the last four years, what Breckland described has been happening. Joe has a longstanding reputation of working across the aisle and working in a bipartisan way. And that’s what he’s going to do as president. Joe Biden has a history of lifting people up and fighting for their dignity. I mean, you have to know Joe’s story to know that Joe has know pain. He has known suffering. And he has known love. And so, Breckland, when you think about the future, I do believe the future is bright. And it will be because of your leadership. And it will be because we fight for each person’s voice through their vote. And we get engaged in this election. Because you have the ability through your work and through, eventually, your vote.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris.
Senator Harris: To determine the future of our country and what its leadership looks like.
Susan Page: Thank you, Senator Harris. Thank you, Vice President Pence. Thank you so much for being with us tonight. We want to thank also the University of Utah for its hospitality. And, most of all, our thanks to all the Americans who watched this debate tonight. Again, our best wishes for a quick recovery to President Trump, the first lady, and everyone who is battling COVID-19. The second presidential debate is next week on October 15th, a town hall style debate in Miami. We hope you’ll join us then. Good evening.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.