COVID-19, taxes among major issues discussed at vice presidential debate


Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence wave before the vice presidential debate Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

By Larry Flores

Sen. Kamala Harris spent the majority of the debate attacking President Donald Trump’s record while Vice President Mike Pence was on the defense Wednesday night at the University of Utah.

Pence and Harris made the coronavirus pandemic a major talking point during the debate.

Harris quickly and constantly attacked Trump’s response to COVID-19.

“The American people have witnessed the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” Harris said.

Harris spoke about Trump’s comments earlier this year about COVID-19 being a hoax and made it clear the Trump administration had minimized the impact COVID-19 would have at the start of this pandemic.

Pence refuted these claims and said, “I want the American people to know that from the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of the American people first.”

Read more: Where each presidential candidate stands on health care

Pence said Democratic nominee Joe Biden had called Trump’s travel ban on China xenophobia. He added that under Biden’s presidency, the 210,000 people dead of the coronavirus would be near 2 million people.

The subject of the economy, taxes — and whether or not they would be raised — loomed over the debate.

Harris made a point to mention the New York Times story that revealed that Trump paid only $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017.

Harris also pressed the issue of Donald Trump and his debt.

“It’d really be 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,” said Harris.

Pence reiterated Trump’s claims that he has paid millions of dollars in taxes over the years. Pence also urged the viewers to read the documents that have been released before and are directly available to them.

Pence claimed the Biden administration would repeal Trump’s tax relief bill and raise taxes on everybody, causing more problems during a pandemic. Harris refuted these claims and reiterated Biden’s plan to only raise taxes on those who make over $400,000 per year.

The two vice-presidential candidates were separated 12 feet and had plexiglass barriers separating them. This is due to concerns over Trump’s positive COVID-19 test and the many recent cases in the White House.

The second of three presidential debates will be held Thursday, Oct. 15.