Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris accused President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of having covered up the Covid-19 crisis during the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night, The Daily Mail reported.
The coronavirus pandemic was the first issue up for debate during the event, which took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Harris quickly honed in on the Trump administration's response to the crisis.
"Here's the thing, on January 28, the vice president and the president were informed about the nature of this pandemic," she said. "They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax."
Harris talked about the 210,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19 and the 7 million who have been infected, as well as the one-in-five businesses that have been shuttered and the 30 million left unemployed. She claimed the White House had treated frontline employees like "sacrificial" employees and said the Trump administration had forfeited its right to re-election because of its pandemic response.
The democrat also emphasized that the president was reportedly keen on minimizing the severity of the virus in order to keep Americans calm.
"I want to ask the American people, how, were you when you were panicked about where to get you next roll of toilet paper? How calm were you when your kids were sent home from school and you didn't know when they would go back?" she asked.
Pence hit back with an accusation of plagiarism, as he claimed that the coronavirus plan put forth by Joe Biden and Harris was very similar to the one already being enacted by the White House coronavirus task force.
"It looks a little bit like plagiarism, which is a little something Joe Biden knows a little bit about," he said.
The republican also accused the Biden-Harris ticket of fueling anti-vaccine sentiments, which he described as "unconscionable."
This came after Harris told the audience that if doctors told the public to take a vaccination she would be "first in line," but if the order came from Trump, she would not submit to the treatment.
The vice presidential debate came after last week's chaotic presidential debate during which Donald Trump and Joe Biden went head-to-head in an event laden with insults and interruptions. While the latest debate did not match the intensity of last week's event, Pence was seen to consistently flout time limits.
"Mr. Vice President, I'm still speaking," Harris told Pence at one point after he began to speak during her allotted time.