Trump’s pan­demic record in spot­light as Har­ris, Pence trade blows at de­bate

Business World - - Labor & Management -

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. —

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