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Highlights from the Vice Presidential Debate

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

The first and only vice presidential debate was held on Wednesday, October 7th at the University of Utah. The candidates, Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris of California debated a wide array of issues like the COVID-19 Crisis, healthcare, the Supreme Court, trade with China, and the economy. Here’s what you need to know:

The debate was pretty normal

Although there were sheets of plexiglass between the candidates and the moderator, the debate seemed relatively normal, at least compared to last week’s presidential debate. Much like a typical debate, the rules were mostly respected, actual plans and policies were discussed, and candidates dodged tough questions and occasionally responded with witty attacks.

History in the making

Senator Kamala Harris is the first African American woman and Indian American woman to participate in a vice presidential debate. Harris, however, kept her cool and when spoken over or interrupted, responded to Vice President Pence, “I’m speaking.”

Kamala Harris speaking at an event
Photo by Gage Skidmore from Flickr

Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and systemic racism

When the candidates were asked about whether Breonna Taylor had received justice or not, their responses were very different. Vice President Mike Pence cited that he “trusts our justice system” and to “assume…a grand jury got it wrong” is troubling. Pence continued that “there is no excuse for the rioting and looting” that followed the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Pence also said that it was “a great insult” to law enforcement to say that the institution is biased. On the other hand, Senator Kamala Harris stated Taylor’s life “was taken unjustifiably, tragically, and violently.” She cited her experience as a prosecutor and stated that she would not “sit here and be lectured by the Vice President on what it means to enforce the laws of our country.” Harris also made reference to last week’s presidential debate and President Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists.

Justice for breonna taylor protest sign
Photo by David Geitgey Sierralupe distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license

Climate change

Vice President Mike Pence defended President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Accords as well as the continued use of natural gas and fracking. On the other hand, Kamala Harris stated that Joe Biden plans to create 7,000 more jobs, part of which will be dedicated to “clean energy and renewable energy.”

there is no planet b
Photo by Li-An Lim from Unsplash

A fly on Mike Pence’s head

While discussing his views on systemic racism, a fly landed on Vice President Pence’s head. The incident immediately went viral, causing memes and tweets to spring up across the internet. His opponent, Joe Biden, even tweeted a picture of himself holding a fly swatter with the caption “Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly.”

Photo by Gage Skidmore distributed under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The next presidential debate is still up in the air. Originally, a debate was scheduled for October 15th, but with President Trump’s recent positive COVID test, the debate was made virtual. However, President Trump refused to participate in any debate that was not in-person. Trump has agreed to a debate on October 22nd, but only if it is in-person.

Jenny Gorski

U Conn '21

Jenny is a senior at the University of Connecticut. She is studying Political Science with a minor in Psychological Sciences. Jenny loves going on long hikes, nerding out over her favorite podcasts, having classes unexpectedly canceled now and again, and hanging out with her pets, 2 cats and 2 dogs, all of whom she misses constantly while away at college.