Pence, Harris meet for vice presidential debate

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic candidate Kamala Harris meet in Salt Lake City for the 2020 vice presidential debate.

Posted: Oct 7, 2020 9:04 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2020 10:47 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is accusing Joe Biden of planning to add members to the U.S. Supreme Court if the Democrats “somehow win this election.”

Pence said at Wednesday's vice presidential debate: “I tell you people across this country, if you cherish your Supreme Court, if you cherish the separation of powers, you need to reject the Biden-Harris ticket come November.”

Pence promised to keep the court a nine-member panel if Trump is reelected.

Biden has not said he would increase the number of justices to outweigh what would become a solid conservative-majority court with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.

But Sen. Kamala Harris counters that the Trump administration has stacked federal courts nationwide with white conservatives, accusing Pence of participating in a different version of court packing.

“This is what they’ve been doing. You want to talk about packing the court. Let’s have that discussion,” she says. “Let’s go on and talk about the issue of racial justice.”

10:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is apparently watching the vice presidential debate and thinks Mike Pence is doing “GREAT,” but he’s not so hot about the Democratic nominee or the moderator’s performance.

Trump, who is quarantining at the White House as he convalesces from COVID-19, took to Twitter to praise Pence and slam the Democratic vice presidential nominee less than an hour into Wednesday’s debate in Salt Lake City.

“Mike Pence is doing GREAT! She is a gaffe machine,” Trump chimed in on Twitter.

A few minutes later, he huffed that the moderator, USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page, cut Pence off as he was trying to make a point about Harris questioning a judicial nominee about his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic social organization.

The president offered a link to a National Review article critical of Harris’ questioning to highlight the point he said Pence was trying to make.

10:10 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says hesitation on behalf of the Obama administration is to blame for the death of a humanitarian worker killed and abused by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Relatives of Kayla Mueller were among Pence’s guests at Wednesday night’s debate with California Sen. Kamala Harris in Salt Lake City.

During the debate, Pence said that, when Joe Biden was vice president, the Obama administration “hesitated” in moving on al-Baghdadi, and when forces finally went in, Mueller had been moved to another location.

Mueller was kidnapped and held for 18 months before her death was announced in early 2015.

Pence said Mueller’s family believes that, if President Donald Trump had been in office, “Kayla would be alive today.“ Al-Baghdadi was killed during a special forces raid in Syria in 2019.

Speaking to Mueller’s family, Harris said, “What happened to her was awful and it should have never happened.”

9:55 p.m.

The vice presidential debate is much more cordial than last week's raucous presidential debate with frequent interruptions and outbursts.

Democrat Kamala Harris acknowledged Vice President Mike Pence’s phone call to her the day she accepted the Democratic vice presidential nomination, while Pence acknowledged the well wishes from his Democratic rivals toward President Donald Trump after the president was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week.

Harris is the first Black woman on a major party ticket. Pence congratulated her Wednesday night on her historic nomination.

9:45 p.m.

California Sen. Kamala Harris says a lack of information on President Donald Trump’s outstanding debts raises concerns about possible motives for his decisions in the nation’s top office.

The Democratic vice presidential nominee said Wednesday during a candidate debate in Salt Lake City that “it’d be really good to know who the president of the United States, the commander and chief, owes money to."

Harris referenced reporting by The New York Times showing Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and is carrying a total of $421 million in loans and debt. Vice President Mike Pence shook his head as she spoke.

Trump has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public.

Harris pivoted to taxes during a question on whether the American people deserved to have information on their president’s health, to which she and Pence both answered in the affirmative.

9:35 p.m.

Sen. Kamala Harris is leaving it as an open question whether she would take a COVID-19 vaccine if one is approved while President Donald Trump is in office.

The topic came up early in Wednesday’s vice presidential debate.

Harris was asked if Americans should take the vaccine and if she would. Harris says that if doctors “tells 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.”

Vice President Mike Pence says there will be a vaccine produced in record time. He says, “I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives.”

He says that undermining confidence in a vaccine is unacceptable.

Former Food and Drug Administration officials have warned that public perception that a vaccine being rushed out for political reasons could derail efforts to vaccinate millions of Americans.

9:25 p.m.

The coronavirus pandemic was the first topic at the vice presidential debate. In Salt Lake City on Wednesday, separated from Vice President Mike Pence by plexiglass barriers, California Sen.

Kamala Harris called the Trump administration’s response to the growing pandemic “the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.” Speaking directly to the camera, as Democratic nominee Joe Biden did in his first debate with President Donald Trump, Harris said, “They knew what was happening, and they didn’t tell you.”

In response, Vice President Mike Pence commended Trump’s decision to shut off travel from China, saying the decision “bought us invaluable time” to coordinate the country’s response to the pandemic.

But Trump's move only cut off some travel from China, and tens of thousands were still allowed to pour into the country. More than 210,000 Americans have died during the pandemic. Trump is recovering at the White House from his own infection.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1358707

Reported Deaths: 42726
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