Vastavam web: Vice President Mike Pence is in a familiar spot: standing by President Donald Trump. With Trump hospitalised with a virus that he spent months downplaying, his ever-loyal No. 2 will play an increasingly prominent role in the weeks ahead.
Pence will take a leading role in campaigning around the country in the final stretch before the Nov. 3 election, aiming to keep the president’s supporters energised and deflecting criticism of his handling of a virus that has killed over 205,000 Americans. The spotlight on Pence will be especially bright on Wednesday when he will participate in the vice presidential debate with California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Pence will almost certainly be pressed to explain shifting accounts of the president’s health over the weekend and justify Trump’s decision to hold large in-person campaign rallies during a pandemic events that often flouted public health guidelines by congregating thousands of mostly mask-less supporters.
Normally, the vice presidential debate is inconsequential. That is not the case in 2020, said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential bid. The public has so many questions about how we got here and it’s an opportunity for Pence to answer some of those. Pence has often been called upon to smooth over fallout from Trump’s messy decision making and divisive policies. There are also concerns that Pence could himself could catch the virus while campaigning, a troubling scenario that raises serious questions about national security and the transfer of power if either he or Trump took a turn for the worse.