Trump’s pandemic record in spotlight as Harris, Pence trade blows at debate
SALT LAKE CITY — Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris clashed over the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic during their debate on Wednesday, as the White House struggled to contain an outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump and dozens of others.
The policy-heavy, relatively sedate debate stood in stark contrast to last week's chaotic presidential showdown between Mr. Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, which was marred by Mr. Trump's constant interruptions and personal insults from both men.
Mr. Trump's coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosis, along with his age and that of Mr. Biden, added weight to the debate, as both Mr. Pence, 61, and Ms. Harris, 55, sought to demonstrate they were capable of assuming the office if needed. Either the Republican Mr. Trump, 74, or Mr. Biden, 77, would be the oldest U.S president to be sworn into office if victorious in November. But Wednesday's confrontation seemed unlikely to alter the dynamics of a race that opinion polls show Mr. Biden is winning with less than four weeks to the Nov. 3 election, as both candidates evaded certain questions, stuck to talking points and avoided major gaffes.
Ms. Harris, the California U.S. senator and former state attorney general, immediately went after Mr. Trump's record on the pandemic that has claimed 210,000 American lives and devastated the economy.
"The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country," Ms. Harris said as the debate began at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. —