Pence, Harris to meet in vice presidential debate as Covid cases surge in the White House

SALT LAKE CITY — Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., are set to meet Wednesday night at the University of Utah in the vice presidential debate as both candidates face intensified pressure to demonstrate they are prepared to step in as commander in chief.

The vice presidential debate typically draws little fanfare, Pence and Harris will be examined by voters who are choosing between two senior citizens for president.

President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis last week sparked questions over the transferral of the powers of the presidency. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has said he sees himself as a “bridge” to the next generation of Democrats, raising speculation as to whether he would seek a second term.

Regardless of who wins, Trump, 74, and Biden, 77, would both set a new record for the oldest president on to take the oath on inauguration day.

The 90-minute debate will be moderated by USA Today’s Susan Page and will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET. It is the only vice presidential debate of the 2020 presidential campaign.

The debate will be divided into nine segments of approximately 10 minutes each and there will be no commercial breaks. Topics are not being disclosed ahead of time.

Harris will also make history as the first Black woman and the first Asian American to participate in a general election debate as a candidate on a major-party ticket.

While Trump’s diagnosis is expected to hang over the debate hall, Wednesday’s event will also feature a visual reminder of the ongoing pandemic and the nearly 20 people tied to Trump who have tested positive for the virus in the past few days.

Sheets of plexiglass will separate the two candidates on the stage, an extra safety measure that Harris requested because of Pence’s potential exposure to Trump. There was some concern that Trump could have infected Biden during last week’s debate. Biden has consistently tested negative.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the candidates would also be separated by more than 12 feet, an increase from the 7 feet that kept Trump and Biden apart.

Masks are also required by all attendees except for the candidates and the moderator. The CPD has indicated that the mask requirement will be enforced on Wednesday, following last week’s debate when members of the Trump family ignored the rule.

Both Pence and Harris have tested negative for Covid-19 multiple days in a row, according to their campaigns.

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Transgender interior designer Felycya Harris shot to death in Georgia park / LGBTQ Nation

Felycya Harris

Felycya HarrisPhoto: Facebook

A 33-year-old transgender interior designer was found shot to death this past Saturday in Augusta, Georgia.

Felycya Harris’s body was found after 1 p.m. at a city park with one gunshot wound. An autopsy on Monday classified her death as a homicide.

Related: US Marine who murdered a transgender woman was just pardoned

“I went outside and we were just sitting in the car, laughing and talking and jiving on each other” before her death, her friend Ricola Collier told WRDW.

She is the 31st known transgender or non-binary person killed this year in the U.S., according to HRC, in what has become one of the most violent years on record for transgender people. The number is believed to be higher as many murders are not reported in the media and many victims who are transgender or non-binary are misgendered in media reports.

Most of the victims this year have been Black and latina transgender women.

“With news of the death of Felycya Harris, we have hit a grim milestone: we have now matched the highest number of transgender or gender non-conforming people who were victims of fatal violence in one year – and there are three more months left in the year,” said HRC President Alphonso David.

According to the organization, Harris ran her own interior decorating business and said she could do “just about anything with decorating” to make people feel better in their living spaces. She also worked at a furniture store and taught dance.

Her friends said they will remember her “laugh. The smile – the smiles. The talks. The arguments. The attitudes. Everybody is going to remember who Felycya Harris is.”

According to the Augusta Chronicle, friends and family are sharing “Justice for Felycya” posts on Facebook. Police have not yet said if they have a suspect.

At least two other transgender women were murdered in the past two weeks. Mia Green, 29, of Philadelphia, Louisiana was found shot in the neck on September 28 and later died at the hospital.

Abdullah Ibn El-Amin Jaamia, in whose car Green’s body was found, has been arrested in connection to her death.

In Los Angeles, 42-year-old Daniela Hernandez was stabbed in the throat Sunday night after she was surrounded by a group of men in a park who told her “something to the effect of, ‘We don’t want gays in the park,’” according to LAPD.

“We don’t know exactly why, but we know it was simply because she’s trans,” said TransLatina Coalition President and CEO Bamby Salcedo.

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Power Up: A VP debate for the times: Pence and Harris face off as White House coronavirus outbreak expands

All this makes the stakes especially high for Vice President Pence, 61, and Sen. Kamala Harris, 55, who will face off tonight for the first time to defend the policies and records of their candidates. These are some key measures of success for both sides, according to sources close to both campaigns: 

Can Pence spin the White House coronavirus outbreak that infected at least 18 people in contact with Trump? 

Trump’s No. 2 – and head of the White House coronavirus task force – will almost certainly be forced to address the outbreak that’s ensnared the president, along with the administration’s handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 210,000 people in the United States. “Pence’s challenge is to explain what happened in the last few days and defend it,a Trump campaign source told Power Up.

  • You wonder why [Trump’s] numbers with seniors are hurting? You have to show you care,” the source said. “There’s probably a way to get them back because they probably don’t want to vote for Biden but they want Trump to acknowledge that he gets it.”
  • Still, some questions could be nearly impossible for Pence to answer – namely, the potential exposure of Trump’s supporters: “I can basically defend anything about the White House and coronavirus except for them allowing Trump to go to Bedminster – I’m sorry but there is no good spin on that specific point,” the source added.
  • Trump mingled with more than 200 people at his New Jersey golf club last Thursday, hours before he tested positive – and after knowing he was exposed to the virus.

Will Pence – and the Trump team – take more safety precautions at the debate this time? 

Trump’s family was criticized for taking off their masks at least week’s presidential debate. Now that six of the eight members of Trump’s debate prep team have tested positive so far, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and campaign manager Bill Stepien, a public show of masks and distancing could go a long way to show the White House takes the virus seriously. 

  • Yet Pence’s team fought hard against the wall of plexiglass that will divide the candidates on the Salt Lake City debate stage – and traveled to the debate yesterday with his spokeswoman Katie Miller whose husband, top White House aide Stephen Miller, tested positive for coronavirus last night.

Making things more complicated: Questions about whether Pence himself is at risk are already taking center stage. Pence’s doctor released a statement that the vice president’s coronavirus PCR test came out negative yesterday afternoon and therefore is “encouraged to go about his normal activities and does not need to quarantine.” 

Pence’s clean up of Trump’s coronavirus messaging could be critical on the campaign trail: Trump’s advisers, staffers, and allies see the president’s response to his own diagnosis “as a missed opportunity,” our colleagues Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey report. “Some had hoped that he would emerge from his hospital stay slightly

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Pence, Harris to clash in VP debate amid White House virus outbreak

(Reuters) – Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris will square off on Wednesday in their only debate, as President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and the ongoing pandemic continue to roil the U.S. presidential contest.

The televised clash comes at a precarious moment for the Trump-Pence re-election campaign, less than a week after the president announced he had contracted COVID-19 amid a White House outbreak that has infected numerous high-profile Republicans.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, is leading Trump in national polls, including an advantage of 12 percentage points in the latest Reuters/Ipsos survey of likely voters, with less than four weeks until the Nov. 3 election.

Late on Tuesday, the two sides were still arguing over Harris’ request for plexiglass barriers on stage to lessen the chance of infection. CNN reported that a member of the commission that oversees the debate said Pence would be permitted to appear without a barrier, while Harris would have one on her side of the stage if desired.

Both Pence and Harris, a U.S. senator, tested negative for the coronavirus on Tuesday. Current government guidelines call for anyone exposed to someone with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days regardless of test results.

Pence’s spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

In a statement, Harris spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said, “If the Trump administration’s war on masks has now become a war on safety shields, that tells you everything you need to know about why their COVID response is a failure.”

With two septuagenarians at the top of the ballot, the debate could take on greater importance than in other years, when the vice presidential match-up was largely seen as an afterthought to the presidential debates. Both Pence and Harris will seek to demonstrate that they can step into the Oval Office if necessary to lead the country.

Trump, 74, returned to the White House on Monday after three days in a military hospital. It is unclear when he will again be able to campaign. Trump has said he plans to participate in the Oct. 15 presidential debate.

The pandemic is likely to dominate the proceedings. Biden, 77, and Harris, 55, have made Trump’s handling of the disease the central theme of their campaign, blaming Trump for deliberately downplaying the health risks and failing to endorse mask-wearing.

The 61-year-old Pence, who headed up the administration’s coronavirus task force, will defend Trump’s response to the virus, which has killed 210,000 Americans and decimated the U.S. economy even as other wealthy nations have managed to get the disease under control.

Viewers will have a constant reminder of the pandemic’s effect on daily life: Pence and Harris will be more than 12 feet apart on stage at the University of Utah, in addition to the plexiglass barrier

In preparation for the debate, Harris got help from former Democratic presidential primary rival Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who is familiar with Pence’s past record when he was governor

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Kamala Harris and Mike Pence Set to Debate as Virus Spreads at White House

(Bloomberg) — Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will take the stage Wednesday night under extraordinary circumstances that will elevate the oft-forgotten vice presidential debate to the highest-stakes running mate matchup in years.

With President Donald Trump fresh out of the hospital but still battling the coronavirus, both Pence and Harris will have to reassure voters that they can step into the presidency if either of the septuagenarians who top the tickets become incapacitated.

A week after Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden squared off in a combative and chaotic debate, Pence and Harris will meet at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City under dramatically different circumstances. Not only have the safety precautions become stricter since at least 10 people who live or work at the White House have become infected, but the tone is expected to be more civil as well.



Mike Pence, Kamala Harris are posing for a picture: Pence Harris duo


© Source: Bloomberg
Pence Harris duo

Mike Pence and Kamala Harris

Source: Bloomberg

The debate will be divided into nine discussion categories, each lasting about 10 minutes.

Although the Trump campaign opposed it, Harris’s staff won an argument to have a plexiglass shield separating her and Pence, who has tested negative for the virus that sent Trump to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for three days. The candidates will be a little more than 12 feet (3.7 meters) apart, and the moderator, Susan Page of USA Today, will also be that distance, the Commission on Presidential Debates said Monday.

Read More: Pence Urges Trump’s Re-Election With Law-and-Order Battle Cry

Anyone who refuses to wear a mask will be “escorted out,” the commission said. The first family and some of Trump’s guests refused to wear masks at last week’s debate.

“This VP debate will get a lot more attention than they usually do,” said Charlie Black, a veteran Republican strategist. “So it’s an opportunity for both candidates. I actually expect a good debate. Pence does a good job of presenting the president’s case, his accomplishments and his ideas in a calm, measured manner. Harris has proved to be a good debater.”

The candidates are also less likely to sling the ad hominem attacks that highlighted the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland between Trump and Biden. Harris will have to restrain the punches she used in her own presidential run.

She has re-upped some of her lines since joining the Biden ticket, including calling Trump a “predator.” But with the president just a day or so out of the hospital, she is expected to shelve those attacks. That doesn’t mean she’ll hold back on criticizing the administration for what Democrats say is a gross mismanagement of the pandemic, especially given that Pence leads the White House coronavirus task force.

“It’s the perfect microcosm for the failure of the Trump administration on coronavirus,” Democratic strategist Joel Payne said. “They became their own super spreader. They didn’t follow best practices. Harris can really effectively use this last week as exhibit A of why Trump and Pence are dangerous and

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Mindy Kaling Has the Same Kitchen Storage Trick as Kamala Harris’ Mother

Every culture has a few things that are unique to them. In Mindy Kaling‘s home, she carries on the traditions that her mother and father instilled in her as an Indian-American woman. When Kaling invited Sen. Kamala Harris into her kitchen last year, the two instantly bonded over the things they had in common.

Mindy Kaling | Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
Mindy Kaling | Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Mindy Kaling’s mother and Kamala Harris’ mother led similar lives

While chopping vegetables and reminiscing about their childhoods, Mindy Kaling and Kamala Harris look back on how their mothers shaped them to be the women they are today. Harris is the first Black woman and first person of South Asian descent to be nominated to a major party ticket. Both Harris and Kaling’s mothers shattered norms at the time that they were raising their children in that they weren’t just relegated to a housewife role, and went out and worked every day.

“What’s interesting about Indian women of a certain generation is that you had to do both,” Kaling notes. Kaling’s mother Swati Chokalingam was a doctor who woke up at 5 a.m. to see patients at the hospital and cooked dinner for her family before she left the house every day.

Similar to Chokalingam, Harris’ mother Shyamala Gopalan was also a medical professional. Harris echoes Kaling’s sentiment, saying she would come home from school every day to find fresh baked cookies while her mother was still at work.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), running mate of Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden, attends a coronavirus briefing
Sen. Kamala Harris | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘SNL’: Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris and 6 Other Vice Presidential Impersonations

Both Mindy Kaling and Kamala Harris’ families are from the same part of India

Mindy Kaling notes that both her family and Harris’ mother’s family hail from South India. Harris smiles and tells Kaling “You look like the entire one-half of my family,” to which she replies, “I’ve been telling people we’re related already so this is perfect!”

Vegetarian cuisine was what they both grew up with as a result of the meatless diet of South India’s large Hindu population. Despite this, Harris sheepishly admits to Kaling that she’s never made dosas, which is what Kaling invited her over to make. Kaling describes them as a sort of “sourdough crêpe” filled with different vegetables, and she shows the VP nominee her way of making them — albeit, she embarrassingly concedes, with pre-made mix.

At one point, Kaling’s father walks into the house, and Harris couldn’t contain herself. She happily greets him and calls him “uncle,” and they begin to talk about India. Harris recounts her childhood trips spent with her grandparents in Besant Nagar, a beachside neighborhood in Chennai, India.

Mindy Kaling has one unique thing in common with Kamala Harris’ mother

When Kamala Harris walked into Mindy Kaling’s kitchen, she was immediately taken aback by what she saw. Kaling had put spices, seasonings, dal, and other things into old Nescafé Taster’s Choice instant coffee jars. Harris was ecstatic and shocked because

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Kamala Harris visits Supreme Court to pay tribute to ‘titan’ Ruth Bader Ginsburg; calls on Dems to win Senate and White House

Kamala Harris stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday to pay tribute to “titan” Ruth Bader Ginsburg — and show she’s ready to fight for the iconic liberal justice’s legacy.



a group of people walking down the street: Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris (L) and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, stop in front of a memorial outside the US Supreme Court as the US mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Ginsburg died September 18, opening a crucial vacancy on the high court expected to set off a pitched political battle at the peak of the presidential campaign.


© Brian Stukes
Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris (L) and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, stop in front of a memorial outside the US Supreme Court as the US mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Ginsburg died September 18, opening a crucial vacancy on the high court expected to set off a pitched political battle at the peak of the presidential campaign.

The Democratic vice presidential candidate joined throngs of mourners outside the court building in Washington D.C. as she quickly moved to shape the looming, titanic partisan battle over replacing Ginsburg.

“The stakes of this election couldn’t be higher,” Harris tweeted after offering prayers for Ginsburg and her grieving family. “Millions of Americans are counting on us to win and protect the Supreme Court—for their health, for their families, and for their rights.”

With early voting underway in five states and Election Day just over six weeks away, Democrats and Republicans were largely unified late Friday in praising Ginsburg as a leading legal thinker and advocate for women’s rights. But strategists in both parties also seized on the moment to find an advantage.

According to the Associated Press, multiple Republicans close to the White House believe that Trump will likely nominate a woman, who could serve as a counterweight of sorts to Biden’s choice of running mate Kamala Harris, who would be the first woman to serve as vice president.

Trump himself did not immediately comment on replacing Ginsburg.

Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate and Vice President Mike Pence could cast a tie-breaking vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. But several GOP senators have expressed various degrees of uneasiness with the idea of jamming a replacement through so close to a presidential election.

“We cannot let them win this fight,” said Harris in a statement to supporters on Saturday. “Millions of Americans are counting on us to stand up, right now, and fight like hell to protect the Supreme Court — not just for today, but for generations to come.“

“The work of holding Senate Republicans accountable to the standard they set in 2016 starts now. To Joe and me, it is clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg.”

With News Wire Services

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