By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice-presidential political debates always should be deemed critical to a campaign, given that the principals involved are vying to be next in line to the presidency of the United States.
Tonight’s encounter with Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence has taken on new urgency. I’ll state the obvious reason first: the age of the president and his Democratic Party challenger.
Donald Trump is 74; former VP Joe Biden is 77. I am not being ghoulish in determining that the age of the presidential candidates is a critical part of the VP debate. We need to assess whether either Sen. Harris or VP Pence is ready to become president at a moment’s notice.
We also have this COVID-19 matter. Perhaps you’ve heard, but Donald Trump is infected with a potentially fatal virus. He spent three days in the hospital. He returned to the White House and is continuing to pose an immediate threat to those around him by, um, refusing to wear a mask or observe “social distancing.”
This brings me to an essential question that Harris — or perhaps moderator Susan Page — needs to pose to Pence.
The VP heads the White House coronavirus response task force. Pence needs to answer this question: If you are seeking to stay in office, how is it that you not only have failed to protect Americans — more than 200,000 of whom have died from this disease — but you also failed to protect the president of the United States?
A host of related questions can arise from that. Why haven’t you insisted at Donald Trump observe medical experts’ warnings? Are you leading by example? Is the task force performing a worthwhile function if POTUS is ignoring your advice? How can you defend the president’s conduct when he jeopardizes the health of those around him?
I believe Pence’s record as head of the response task force needs careful examination in tonight’s encounter.