[COMMENTARY]: Kamala Harris’s Opening Statement at Vice Presidential Debate Made the Best Case for Dumping Donald Trump

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, prosecuted the most compelling case for why voters should dump President Donald Trump in November during her opening statement in Wednesday’s vice presidential debate.

A full transcript of Wednesday’s debate is available on REV.

Photo by ERIC BARADAT,ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Harris said that the Trump administration has “forfeited” its right to remain in power because of Trump’s catastrophic bungling of the COVID-19 pandemic – the seriousness of which Trump covered up, diminished, and enabled:

The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country. And here are the facts. 210,000 dead people in our country in just the last several months. Over seven million people who have contracted this disease. One in five businesses closed. We’re looking at frontline workers who have been treated like sacrificial workers. We are looking at over 30 million people, who in the last several months, had to file for unemployment. And here’s the thing, on January 28th, the vice president and the president were informed about the nature of this pandemic. They were informed that it’s lethal in consequence, that it is airborne, that it will affect young people, and that it would be contracted because it is airborne. And they knew what was happening, and they didn’t tell you.

Trump has no plan, except, perhaps, surviving his own coronavirus diagnosis:

Can you imagine if you knew on January 28th, as opposed to March 13th, what they knew, what you might’ve done to prepare? They knew, and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimized the seriousness of it. The president said, ‘You’re on one side of his ledger if you wear a mask. You’re on the other side of his ledger if you don’t.’ And in spite of all of that, today, they still don’t have a plan. They still don’t have a plan. Well, Joe Biden does. And our plan is about what we need to do around a national strategy for contact tracing, for testing, for administration of the vaccine, and making sure that it will be free for all. That is the plan that Joe Biden has and that I have, knowing that we have to get a hold of what has been going on, and we need to save our country. And Joe Biden is the best leader to do that. And frankly, this administration has forfeited their right to reelection based on this.

Watch below, courtesy of The Guardian:

Pence in his rebuttal predictably defended the administration’s actions, and, just like Trump, tried to spin the hundreds of thousands of coronavirus deaths as a success:

Our nation has gone through a very challenging time this year. But I want the American people to know that from the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of America first. Before there were more than five cases in the United States, all people who had returned from China, President Donald Trump did what no other American president had ever done. And that was, he suspended all travel from China, the second largest economy in the world. Now, Senator Joe Biden opposed that decision. He said it was xenophobic and hysterical. But I can tell you having led the white house coronavirus task force that that decision alone by President Trump bought us invaluable time to stand up the greatest national mobilization since World War Two. And I believe it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives. Because with that time, we were able to reinvent testing. More than 115 million tests had been done to date. We were able to see to the delivery of billions of supplies, so our doctors and nurses had the resources support they needed. And we began, really, before the month of February we started to develop a vaccine and to develop medicines and therapeutics that have been saving lives all along the way. And under President Trump’s leadership, Operation Warp Speed, we believe we’ll have literally tens of millions of doses of a vaccine before the end of this year.

Pence also accused his vice presdential predecessor, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, of plagiarizing the Trump administration’s second term plans:

The reality is, when you look at the Biden plan, it reads an awful lot like what President Trump, and I, and our task force has been doing every step of the way. And quite frankly, when I look at their plan that talks about advancing testing, creating new PPE, developing a vaccine, it looks a little bit like plagiarism, which is something Joe Biden knows a little bit about. And I think the American people know that this is a president who has put the health of America first. And the American people, I believe with my heart, can be proud of the sacrifices they have made. It’s saved countless American lives.

Trump took office with a pandemic response unit in place but he disbanded it, and then lied about its very existence, because his sole priority has been to dismantle, reverse, or undo everything accomplished by President Barack Obama.

No other technologically sophisticated nation on Earth has experieced as many infections or as much death from COVID-19 as the United States has under Donald Trump, and the spread of the virus is accelerating.

Trump must be stopped and held accountable.

We cannot afford four, or eight, or twelve, or sixteen more years of Trump’s ineptitude.

Joe Biden for president of the United States.

Twenty-six days until the election.

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