SALT LAKE CITY: There have been three individuals in Wednesday evening’s vice presidential debate: Republican Mike Pence, Democrat Kamala Harris and the plexiglass between them.
The clear partitions went largely unmentioned as Pence and Harris directed criticism at each other, and the house viewers could not see them in split-screen TV photos. However when the cameras confirmed Pence or Harris from the facet, the candidates’ reflections had been evident on the limitations.
It was a reminder of the coronavirus, distinguished within the night’s dialogue. They had been late additions to the stage in Salt Lake Metropolis, underscoring how the pandemic rages on lower than a month earlier than the Nov. Three election. Pence and Harris had been stationed at desks spaced greater than 12 ft (3.7 meters) aside, every with a partition on the facet dealing with the opposite candidate.
Sen. Harris’ crew requested plexiglass be used after President Donald Trump was recognized with Covid-19 shortly after his first presidential debate towards Democrat Joe Biden final week in Cleveland. Pence’s crew, in the meantime, insisted they weren’t medically essential, an objection that got here as Trump returned to the White Home. The Trump marketing campaign is making an attempt to maneuver previous the virus regardless of the president’s personal analysis.
For probably the most half, Pence and Harris directed their feedback towards moderator Susan Web page reasonably than in one another’s route. She was not protected by plexiglass.
Different reminders that these are usually not regular instances for a vice presidential debate: 20 chairs for visitors had been spaced roughly 6 ft (1.eight meters) aside within the debate corridor, a performing arts middle on the College of Utah campus. The auditorium’s balcony included 60 college students who received a lottery for tickets and had been issued salmon-colored college masks. Donors and different visitors sat in conventional theater seats, although there have been not less than two empty seats between visitors.
Employees took visitors’ temperatures upon entrance into the corridor and requested individuals to sanitize their fingers. Sporting a masks was required. Visitors had been reminded earlier than the occasion began to maintain their masks on and suggested that anybody not complying could be requested to place them again on. Frank Fahrenkopf, chairman of the Fee on Presidential Debates, warned that those that refused could be escorted out of the corridor by regulation enforcement.
The controversy went on with out interruption. However when it completed, Karen Pence eliminated the masks she had been sporting as she joined her husband on stage. Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband, stored his on.
A disclaimer on the again of the controversy tickets stated individuals relieved the fee in addition to the controversy’s website host “of any and all legal responsibility of any form of character … together with Covid-19.”
Eventually week’s opening presidential debate, some Trump invitees had been issued masks however declined to put on them, even when expressly requested to take action by debate organizers.
On Wednesday, even the community TV cameras had plexiglass wrapping on the perimeters and again. However the limitations between Harris and Pence didn’t lengthen to the moderator, Susan Web page of USA At present.
Each Harris and Pence examined damaging for the virus Tuesday, their respective groups stated. A variety of members of the Trump administration are persevering with to check constructive.
Pence’s visitors within the debate corridor had been meant to convey a “regulation and order” message that has been a centerpiece of the Trump marketing campaign. They included Ann Marie Dorn, the widow of retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn, who was shot and killed on June 2 after a violent evening of protests. She additionally spoke on the Republican Nationwide Conference.
The vice chairman was additionally joined by Flora Westbrooks, whose Minneapolis hair salon was burned down in Might throughout protests over George Floyd’s killing by police. Additionally there on Pence’s behalf had been the mother and father of Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian support employee who was taken captive and killed by Islamic State militants.
Harris invited Utah state Rep. Angela Romero, a longtime group organizer for progressive causes, and Deborah Gatrell, a highschool trainer operating for Salt Lake County Council.
Earlier than the controversy, dozens of Trump and Pence supporters stood on the road outdoors waving flags and chanting, some holding anti-abortion indicators. An extended line of supporters of the Biden-Harris ticket, many cheering and waving marketing campaign indicators, additionally lined areas close to the auditorium.

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