Transcript for Pence and Harris share what the role of the vice presidency is
Vice president pence, there have been a lot of repercussions from this pandemic. In recent days, the president’s diagnosis of covid-19 has underscored the importance of the job that you hold and that you are seeking. That’s our second topic tonight, it’s the role of the vice president. One of you will make history on January 20th. You will be the vice president to the oldest president the United States has ever had. Donald Trump will be 74 years old on inauguration day, Joe Biden will be 78 years old. That already has raised concerns among some voters, concerns that have been sharpened by president trump’s hospitalization in recent days. Vice president pence, have you had a conversation or reached an agreement with president trump about safeguards or procedures when it comes to the issue of presidential disability? And if not, do you think you should? You have two minutes without interruption. Well, Susan, thank you. Though I would like to go back. I think we need to move onto the issue. Thank you, but I would like to go back. The reality is, we’re going to have a vaccine, senator, in record time, in unheard of time, in less than a year. We have five companies in phase three clinical trials and we’re right now producing tens of millions of doses. So the fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if the vaccine emerges during the trump administration, I think is unconscionable. And senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives. The reality is that we will have a vaccine, we believe, before the end of this year and I will have the capacity to save countless American lives and your continuous undermining of confidence in a vaccine is just — it’s just unacceptable. And let me also say, you know, the reality is, when you talk about failure in this administration, we actually do know what failure looks like in a pandemic. It was 2009, the swine flu arrived in the United States. Thankfully it was — ended up not being as lethal as the coronavirus. But before the end of the year, when Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, not 7.5 million people contracted the swine flu, 60 million Americans contracted the swine flu. If the swine flu had been as lethal as the coronavirus, in 2009, when Joe Biden was vice president, we would have lost 2 million American lives. His own chief of staff would say last year that it was pure luck that they did, quote, everything possible wrong and we learned from that. They let the strategic stockpile empty, they left an empty and hollow plan. Thank you, vice president your time is up. I’m going to say again — Vice president pence, I’m sorry, your time is up. And senator, please — Thank you, vice president pence. Senator Harris, let me ask you the same question that I asked vice president pence, which is, have you had a conversation or reached an agreement with vice president Biden about safeguards or procedures when it comes to the issue of presidential disability and if not, and if you win the election next month, do you think you should? You have two minutes uninterrupted. So, let me tell you, first of all, the day I got the call from Joe Biden, it was actually a zoom call, asking me to serve with him on this ticket, was probably one of the most memorable days of my life. I, you know, I thought about my mother, who came to the united States at the age of 19, gave birth to me at the age of 25 at Kaiser hospital in Oakland, California, and the thought that I’d be sitting here right now, I know would make her proud, and she must be looking down on us. You know, Joe and I were raised in a very similar way. We were raised with values that are about hard work, about the value and the dignity of public service and about the importance of fighting for the dig any of all people and I think Joe asked me to serve with him because, you know, I have a career that included being elected the first woman district attorney of San Francisco, where I created models of innovation for law enforcement in terms of the criminal justice system, I was elected the first woman of color and black woman to be elected attorney general of the state of California, where I ran the second-largest department of justice in the United States, second only to the United States department of justice. And there I took on everything from transnational criminal organizations to the big banks that were taking advantage of homeowners to for profit colleges that were taking advantage of veterans. And of course now I serve in the United States senate as only the second black woman elected to the senate. I’ve been in regular receipt of classified information or threats to our nation, I’ve traveled the world, I’ve met with our soldiers in war Zones and I think Joe has asked me to serve with him because he knows that we share — we share a purpose, which is about lifting up the American people and after the four years that we have seen of Donald Trump unifying our country around our common values and principles. Thank you, senator Harris. Neither president trump nor vice president Biden has released a sort of detailed health information that had become the modern norm until the 2016 election. And in recent days, president trump’s doctors have given misleading information about his basic health. And my question to each of you in turn is, this is information voters deserve to know? Vice president pence, would you like to go first? Well, Susan, thank you. And let me say, on behalf of the president and the first lady, how moved we’ll all been by the outpouring of prayers and concern for the president and I do believe it’s emblematic of the concerns that have ushered forth for every American impact bid the coronavirus. But the care the president received at Walter reed hospital, the white house doctors, was exceptional. And the transparency they practiced will continue. The American people have a right to know about the health and well being of their president and we’ll continue to do that. But I’m just extremely grateful and was more than — more than a little moved by the broad and bipartisan support and senator, I want to thank you and Joe Biden for your expressions, genuine concern. And I also want to congratulate you, as I did on that phone call on the historic nature of your nomination. I never expected to be on this stage four years ago, so I know the feeling. But the reality is, we’ve got an election before the American people in the midst of this challenging year, and the stakes have never been higher. Thank you, vice president pence, I want to give senator Harris a chance to respond to the same question I asked, which is, do voters have a right to know more detailed health information about presidential candidates and especially about presidents, especially when they are facing some kind of challenge. Absolutely. And that’s why Joe Biden has been so incredibly transparent as certainly by contrast, the president has not. Both in terms of health records, but also let’s look at taxes. We now know because of great investigative journalism that Donald Trump paid $750 in taxes. When I first heard about it, I literally said, you mean $750,000? And it was like, no, $750. We now know Donald Trump owes and is in debt for $400 million and just so everyone is clear, when we say in death, it means you owe money to somebody. And it would be really 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. And is he making those decisions on the best interest of the American people, of you or self-interest? So, Susan, I’m glad you asked about transparency, because it has to be across the board. Joe has been incredibly transparent of many, many years. Joe puts it all out there. He — he is honest, he is forthright. But Donald Trump, on the other hand, has been about covering up everything. Thank you, senator Harris. I want to give you a chance to respond, vice president. Look, I respect the fact that Joe Biden spent 47 years in public life, I respect your public service, as well. Thank you. The American people have a president who is a businessman, a job creator, who has paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes. Payroll taxes, property taxes, he’ tens of thousands of American jobs. The president said those public reports are not accurate and the president’s also released literally stacks of financial disclosures the American people can review, just as the law allows, but the distinction here is that Joe Biden, 47 years in public service, compared to president Donald Trump, who brought all of that experience four years ago — Thank you, vice president. And turned this economy around by cutting taxes, rolling back regulations. Thank you, vice president pence. Fighting for free and fair trade and all — Thank you, vice president pence. If Joe Biden and kamala Harris — You know, that’s a good segue
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