U.S. President Donald Trump has denounced the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Senator Kamala Harris, as a "communist," and made wild claims about her stance on immigration.
"She wants to open up the borders to allow killers, murderers and rapists into our country," Trump told Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network.
Trump's comments came the morning after, while trading barbs through plexiglass shields, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris turned the only vice presidential debate of 2020 into a dissection of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Harris labeling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration.”
Pence, who leads the president’s coronavirus task force, acknowledged that “our nation’s gone through a very challenging time this year,” yet vigorously defended the administration’s overall response to a pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 Americans.
Trump also told Bartiromo that, "I don’t think I am contagious at all,” while taking a swipe at face masks. “I’m back because I’m a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young,” Trump added. “So I am lucky in that way.”
The meeting, which was far more civil than last week’s chaotic faceoff between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, unfolded against an outbreak of coronavirus now hitting the highest levels of the U.S. government. Trump spent three days at the hospital before returning to the White House on Monday, and more than a dozen White House and Pentagon officials are also infected, forcing even more into quarantine.
With less than four weeks before Election Day, the debate was one of the final opportunities for Trump and Pence to reset a contest that could be slipping away. They’re hoping to move the campaign’s focus away from the virus, but the president’s infection — and his downplaying of the consequences — are making that challenging.