Tomorrow night, October 7, Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence will face off for the first and only time this election in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The debate comes at a perilous time for President Donald Trump’s campaign, as he recovers from coronavirus in the White House after a swift release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. A CNN national poll released on Tuesday also indicated that former Vice President Joe Biden has a 16-point lead over Trump among likely voters.
With Trump and Biden’s age and health very much a national concern, the vice presidential debate will take on extraordinary significance as well, the New York Times reported.
So, what has Harris had to say about Pence over the last 12 months or so? Here’s what you need to know:
Harris Has Said Multiple Times That Pence Is Part of a ‘Criminal Enterprise,’ Related to the Trump’s Ukraine Scandal
In November 2019, as the House of Representatives prepared to vote on articles of impeachment against Trump over his Ukraine foreign policy and insistence that the country’s government investigate the Biden family before military aide would be released, Harris didn’t mince words when describing the Trump administration.
“Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and [then] Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney are part of a criminal enterprise,” Harris said. “It’s time all the president’s men come forward to testify.”
That same month, during one of the Democratic Primary debates, Harris again said that Pence was part of Trump’s “criminal enterprise.”
“Well, first of all, we have a criminal living in the White House,” Harris said. “And there is no question, in 2020, one of the biggest issues before us, before we get to that tender moment, is justice is on the ballot. And we what we saw today is Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland, by his own words, told us that everyone was in the loop. That means it was a criminal enterprise engaged in by the president, the vice president, the secretary of state and the chief of staff.”
Sondland testified in the House of Representatives that there was an explicit quid pro quo demanded by the Trump White House of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for political favors in exchange for security aide. He also implicated Pence in the alleged scheme, telling Congress that he brought concerns to the vice president.
Again in December 2019, Harris said, “There’s a criminal enterprise afoot,” and implicated Pence as part of that enterprise.
Harris Has Called the Idea That Pence Will Not Eat Dinner Alone with Any Woman Other Than His Wife ‘Ridiculous’
In 2017, The Washington Post reported that Pence had an unusual personal rule: He will not eat dinner alone with any woman who is not his wife, Karen. He also does not attend events featuring alcohol without her by his wide.
Harris later told MSNBC that she found the rule “ridiculous.”
“I disagree with him when he suggests it’s not possible to have meetings with women alone by himself,” Harris said in 2019. “I think that’s ridiculous, the idea that you would deny a professional woman the opportunity to have a meeting with the vice president of the United States is outrageous.”
Harris Has Also Hit Pence Over His Record on LGBTQ Rights
As an Indiana congressman, as well as the governor, before he became vice president, Pence has repeatedly taken positions against LGBTQ rights, including marriage.
Harris in 2019 went after Pence’s record as part of the Trump administration, which has tried to remove health care protections for transgender people and pushed for limiting protections for transgender school students.
“Trump and Pence have done nothing but promote discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community,” Harris said. “From arguing in court that federal civil rights law doesn’t protect gay workers, to banning transgender service members — it’s time the LGBTQ+ community had a fighter again in the White House.”
An August op-ed in the LGBT newspaper The Washington Blade argued that Harris should ask Pence at the debate to pledge along with her to pledge support for a bill banning gay conversion therapy nationwide.
She Has Called Pence & Trump’s Government ‘Failed’ & Blamed Many of the Country’s Coronavirus Deaths on Them
Harris and Biden both blame the Trump administration’s management of the coronavirus pandemic for a large portion of the 210,000 deaths the United States has thus far endured and view the election partially as a referendum on Trump and Pence’s approach.
On August 26, Harris placed the blame squarely on both men.
“Let’s be clear where Trump and Pence got us,” she said. “Millions out of work, students across our nation who cannot go back to school and 180,000 lives cut short by coronavirus.”
At her speech in Wilmington, Delaware, accepting Biden’s nod to be his vice presidential running mate, she also called Trump and Pence’s administration “failed” and claimed that their mismanagement not only led to more than 200,000 deaths from the virus, but also the current economic crisis.
The U.S. unemployment rate remains at around 8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and evictions are skyrocketing.
“But here’s the good news,” Harris said. “We don’t have to accept the failed government of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. In just 83 days, we have a chance to choose a better future for our country.”
The vice presidential debate will be held tomorrow night, October 7, at 9 p.m. The candidates will be separated by a plexiglass barrier, according to CBS News. It will be carried by all major cable news and basic TV networks, as well as streamed live on YouTube and C-SPAN.
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