Snopes Coverage of the 2020 U.S. VP Debate

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris debated from Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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  • Published 7 October 2020

Snopes reporters are providing live coverage during all of the presidential debates, in addition to the lone vice presidential debate, during the 2020 election year. In this Oct. 7 debate, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris squared off from Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah, just two days after President Donald Trump returned to the White House after testing positive for COVID-19.

Reporters Madison Dapcevich and Bethania Palma along with Operations Editor Jordan Liles and Engagement Editor Brandon Echter covered the debate. We were also happy to welcome Connor Klentschy, who assisted the team. He is a student of Jevin D. West, Assistant Professor, DataLab, iSchool, University of Washington.

Additionally, our team will be presenting brand new fact-check content (including some spun off from the debates) in the days after, just as we have been doing for more than 25 years. We encourage readers to sign up for our newsletter for our analysis, and to support our newsroom and fact-checking efforts by becoming a Snopes Member.

U.S. Mail and Voter Fraud?

Vice President Mike Pence said: “Universal mail-in voting will create a massive opportunity for mail-in fraud.”

Obama Admin Spied on Trump Campaign?

Vice President Mike Pence said: “When Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, the FBI actually spied on President Trump and my campaign.”

A Peaceful Transfer of Power

Vice President Mike Pence said: “There were documents released this week that the CIA actually made a referral to the FBI documenting that those allegations were coming from the Hilary Clinton campaign.”

Proud Boys and Charlottesville

This story is trending on Snopes.com during the debate:

Trump Condemned White Supremacy?

Sen. Kamala Harris said that President Trump “refused to condemn white supremacists” during the first presidential debate.

Biden Defunding the Police?

This story is trending on Snopes.com during the debate:

George Floyd

Vice President Mike Pence said: “With regard to George Floyd, there’s no excuse for what happened to George Floyd. Justice will be served. But there’s also no excuse for the rioting and looting that followed.”

The Case of Breonna Taylor

Vice President Mike Pence said: “I trust our justice system. A grand jury that refused the evidence.”

Amy Coney Barrett and Religion

Vice President Mike Pence said: “Our hope is in the hearing next week, that we hope [Judge Amy Coney Barrett] gets a fair hearing, and we particularly hope that we don’t see the kind of attacks on her Christian faith that we saw before.”

Abortion

Vice President Mike Pence said: “I’m pro-life, I don’t apologize for it. And this is another one of those cases where this is such a dramatic contrast. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer funded abortion all the way up to the moment of birth. Late term abortion.”

Overturning the Affordable Care Act

Sen. Kamala Harris said: Trump is in court right now trying to get rid of Obamacare. (paraphrase)

‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’

Vice President Mike Pence said: Slanders against President Donald Trump regarding men and women of our armed forces are absurd. (paraphrase)

COVID-19’s Origins

This story is trending on Snopes.com during the debate:

Trump Said McCain Wasn’t Hero?

China and COVID-19

Vice President Mike Pence said: China is to blame for the coronavirus. President Trump is not happy about it. He’s made that very clear. China and the World Health Organization did not play it straight with the American people. (paraphrase)

Kamala Harris and Willie Brown

White House Pandemic Response Team

Sen. Kamala Harris said that the Trump administration got rid of the White House pandemic response team.

Climate Change Removed from Website?

Sen. Kamala Harris said: “Do you know this administration took the word ‘science’ off the website, and then took the phrase ‘climate change’ off the website?”

Trump and Climate Change

Vice President Mike Pence said, in regard to climate change: “President Trump has made it clear that we’re going to continue to listen to the science.”

Biden/Harris and Green New Deal

Vice President Mike Pence said: “They want to bury our economy under a $2 trillion Green New Deal.”

Trump’s Tax Records

Vice President Mike Pence said: “The president has also released stacks of financial disclosures that the American people can review just as the law allows.”

Trump Tax Law

Sen. Kamala Harris said: Donald Trump, who measures the strength of the economy based on how rich people are doing, which is why he passed a tax bill benefitting the top 1% and the biggest corporations of America leading to a 2 trillion dollar deficit that the American people are going to have to pay for … (paraphrase)

H1N1 and the Obama Administration

Vice President Mike Pence said: “Sixty million Americans contracted the swine flu… [The Obama Administration] left the Strategic National Stockpile empty.”

Trump Only Paid $750 in Taxes?

COVID-19 and the American People

Sen. Kamala Harris said: “We learned that they knew about… and when that was exposed, the vice president said when asked, why didn’t you all tell anybody? He said because he wanted people to remain calm.”

Did Biden Call Trump ‘Xenophobic’?

Vice President Mike Pence said: “Joe Biden opposed that decision. He said it was xenophobic and hysterical.”

Biden and Plagiarism

This story is trending on Snopes.com during the debate:

Trump Suspended China Travel?

Vice President Mike Pence said: “President Donald Trump did what no other American President had ever done. That was, he suspended all travel from China, the second largest economy in the world.”

Trump Called COVID-19 a “Hoax”?

Sen. Kamala Harris said: “They knew, and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimized the seriousness of it.”

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