Vice President Mike Pence intends to describe Democratic rival Sen. Kamala Harris as hypocritical and inconsistent during the vice presidential debate Wednesday, aides told reporters.
Pence deputies specifically mentioned Harris’ prior attacks on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s record on race relations and her record prosecuting low-level drug crimes.
“I think we’ll also highlight some of Senator Harris’ discrepancies in her record where she’s proven to be hypocritical,” Pence chief of staff Marc Short said on a conference call previewing the debate.
“I think that’s an important part of it that thus far has not come out as much, but I think that her record is riddled with hypocrisy. And hopefully we’ll have a chance to highlight that.”
Trump-Pence campaign senior adviser Jason Miller noted Harris’ 2019 attacks on Biden including over interracial school busing.
“We all remember back to the primary where Kamala Harris went pretty hardcore after Joe Biden, calling out his policies, describing his policies as racist,” Miller said.
“I think that Kamala Harris is gonna have to explain, quite frankly, a lot of that tonight on the national stage. How can Joe Biden’s policies be racist in the primary, but then not so in the general election? I think this will be a key thing.”
Miller added later: “A lot of Kamala Harris’ prosecutor and AG record will will be on full display tonight. And one of the things that will be found in looking through it is that she was overly aggressive in prosecuting small minor offenses that disproportionately impacted black men, in particular, but also then was soft when it came to more capital cases.”
Pence prepared for the debate for between six and eight weeks, Short said, including with former Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) playing Harris in debate mock-ups.
But the aides set expectations high for Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general who’s experienced at grilling opponents.
“We know that Sen. Harris is a prosecutor and even though her campaign flailed, the reality is that she was a strong debater,” Short said.
Walker told reporters that “Sen. Harris, having been a prosecutor, is going to be a worthy debater.”
Pence will defend his performance leading the Trump administration’s COVID-19 pandemic response, the aides said, and will highlight pre-pandemic economic successes.
Walker said that despite knocking Harris as inconsistent, Pence will point out Harris’ voting record, which he said was “even further to the left than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.”
“You’re going to hear a lot about recovery, about what this administration did to get us to a 50-year low when it came to unemployment before the pandemic — and what we’ve done since, particularly the more than 10.5 million new jobs created just in the last four months alone,” Walker said.
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