Fact-checking the vice presidential debate

Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer
·1 min read

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris squared off in the only vice presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. The debate was held amid a coronavirus outbreak at the White House, with President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and more than a dozen West Wing staffers infected by COVID-19. Pence has tested negative for the virus.

Yahoo News provided a live fact check during the 90-minute debate, highlighting false and misleading claims made by the candidates in real time. For a complete recap, see the blog below.

Live Updates
  • Rebecca Corey

    Recapping the vice presidential debate

    • Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris faced off in their only debate Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, separated by plexiglass barriers and seated 12 feet apart amid a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases at the White House. Debate moderator Susan Page, the USA Today Washington bureau chief, was also seated 12 feet away from the candidates.

    • Pence and Harris kicked off the debate discussing the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 210,000 Americans to date. Harris called it the "greatest failure of any presidential administration" while Pence defended Trump, saying he "has put the health of America first."

    • Harris and Pence sparred over appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, with Harris insisting that the vacant Supreme Court seat should be filled by the winner of next month's presidential election, while Pence pressed Harris on whether a Biden administration would support adding more justices to the Supreme Court.

    • “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking,” Harris said after she was cut off by Mike Pence, one week after the first presidential debate was derailed by constant interruptions and crosstalk. Later in the evening, Page also reprimanded the vice president for interrupting, saying, "I'm here to enforce" the debate rules.

    • At one point, a fly appeared to land on Pence's head, much to the delight of Twitter.

    • After a cordial debate that stood in stark contrast to last week's heated, off-the-rails presidential debate, Harris and Pence were joined on stage by their spouses. Harris's husband, Douglas Emhoff, wore a mask; Pence's wife, second lady Karen Pence, did not.