Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) will face off in the vice presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 7. To get a sense of what to expect on debate night, you can look to what they’ve said about each other in the past. Pence has already taken shots at Harris’ stance on issues like climate change, and the California senator has expressed her disagreements with Pence’s conservative stances. If these Mike Pence quotes about Kamala Harris are any indication of how the current VP will approach the debate, it’ll likely be a tense night.
When former Vice President Biden announced Harris as his running mate on Aug. 11, Harris didn’t waste much time critiquing the current VP’s record. At an event on Aug. 12, Harris went in on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. "The case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut," she said. "Just look where they’ve gotten us ... more than 165,000 lives that have been cut short, many with loved ones who never got the chance to say goodbye. It didn’t have to be this way." As of Oct. 5, there have been more than 210,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19.
Harris has also criticized Pence's stance on LGBTQ+ issues and whether he should have been questioned more during President Donald Trump's impeachment. Pence hasn't been shy with his commentary on Harris and her record, either. Here’s a look at what the vice president has said about his opponent.
The Vice Presidential Debate
Pence spoke to Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Aug. 12, and in his Hannity interview, Pence said he "can’t wait" to debate Harris. Pence acknowledged Harris' prowess as a litigator, saying, "I think she is a skilled debater." But he went on to say, "I can't wait to get to Salt Lake City and be on the stage — whether to compare Joe Biden's nearly 50 years in public life, the agenda of the radical left, the agenda that she's embraced throughout her political career — with the results of this president and this administration."
Harris' Stance On Farming & Climate Change
During Harris' presidential campaign, she shared her thoughts on meat production and its impact on the climate during a climate change panel with CNN in September 2019. At the time, Harris said she was in favor of altering some dietary guidelines at the recommendation of experts to encourage Americans to eat less red meat to protect the environment from the impacts of methane — a planet-warming gas — released from animals.
Pence responded to the idea at the Farmers and Ranchers for Trump event on Aug. 13. "Sen. Kamala Harris said she would change the dietary guidelines of this country to reduce the amount of red meat that Americans can eat," Pence said. "Well I've got some red meat for you: We're not going to let Joe Biden [and] Kamala Harris cut America's meat!"
Harris' Stance On Police Reform
In his Aug. 12 Hannity interview, Pence tried to tie Biden and Harris to a "party that is advocating for defunding law enforcement." He said, "In Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are [the] Democratic Party and the radical left, [where] you have people talking about cutting funding to law enforcement." Neither Biden or Harris have publicly supported a plan to defund the police. In fact, Biden's plan for police reform includes an increase of $300 million in funding for reform efforts and to support public programs in local communities.
"The Radical Left”
Soon after Harris was announced as Biden's pick, Pence spoke out at a Latter-day Saints for Trump event in Arizona on Aug. 11, saying it was "no surprise" Biden announced Harris as his running mate. "As you all know, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have been overtaken by the radical left. So given their promises of higher taxes, open borders, socialized medicine, and abortion on demand, it's no surprise that he chose Sen. Harris." In practice, the Biden-Harris campaign has taken more of a centrist approach.
In many of Pence's comments about Harris, he claims she's a part of the radical left, but publications like The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have labeled Harris as a "pragmatic moderate" and "a centrist," respectively.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
On Sept. 7, Pence visited the Dairyland Power Cooperative in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to promote the USMCA, which took effect in July and replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The USMCA includes many of the original NAFTA provisions, with updates like new intellectual property standards and some environmental regulations. Harris voted against USMCA in January, citing a lack of an effort to address climate change.
Pence brought up the vote on his visit, saying, "Dairy farmers in Wisconsin deserve to know that Sen. Kamala Harris is one of only 10 senators to vote against the USMCA. She said it didn’t go far enough on climate change." He continued, "Now, here at Dairyland Power, you deserve to know Sen. Harris put their radical environmental agenda ahead of Wisconsin dairy and ahead of Wisconsin power."
Pence doesn't seem to leave any middle ground to meet on in his comments about Harris, so it'll be interesting to see how the opponents approach polarizing issues like police reform and climate change during the debate on Wednesday night.