Harris debate guest chastises Karen Pence for not wearing a mask on stage with VP

Harris debate guest chastises Karen Pence for not wearing a mask on stage with VP

October 9, 2020

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Utah state Rep. Angela Romero called out Second Lady Karen Pence for appearing alongside her husband, Vice President Mike Pence after Wednesday night's debate without a mask on.

“I wish she would have had a mask on. All of us were required to have a mask on. Sen. Harris’ husband had a mask on," Romero, a Democrat, told Fox News in an interview on Thursday. "She didn’t have a mask on but I wish she would have."

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Vice President Mike Pence stands with his wife Karen Pence following the vice presidential debate with Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., took the stage at the University of Utah, each seated behind a plexiglass window to face off in the first and only vice presidential debate of the campaign season.

The heightened protocols inside the debate hall highlighted increased efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, especially after President Trump himself tested positive just days after the first presidential debate.

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Romero, who attended the debate as a guest of the Biden-Harris campaign, said overall she was "impressed" by both campaigns and the university for abiding by safety protocols, such as wearing a mask and having socially distanced seating. She told Fox News that guests were asked to take a COVID-19 test a day prior to the debate and self-isolate thereafter until Wednesday night's event.

A member of the production staff puts labels on seats in an effort to keep seats socially distanced ahead of the vice presidential debate (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Romero also criticized Trump for being "a walking contradiction" when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

“What I want in a president is someone who leads by example and I feel like President Trump is a walking contradiction," Romero, the House Democratic caucus assistant whip for her state, said. "He experienced COVID and then, yes, he’s supposedly recovered, but wearing a mask is so important as we know."

She added: "The science shows that it is and for me, if we’re going to be leaders we should lead by example and I just haven’t seen that by the Trump administration.”

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., stands with her husband Douglas Emhoff during the vice presidential debate.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Utah has seen a surge in new coronavirus cases in the last week, recording 1,501 new cases on Thursday, an all-time single-day high for the state. Across the country, there have been over 7.5 million infectinos and at least 212,485 deaths from COVID-19.

“There are a lot of people in Utah who think like the President of the United States and that’s why you see our COVID rates going up again because people aren’t following the lead of the governor," Romero said.

"Even our governor, who is as Republican as you get, is telling people to mask up when they're in public," she added in reference to Gov. Gary Herbert.

The state legislator also added that she's not shocked that Trump has bowed out of a second presidential debate because it was slated to be held virtually.

On Thursday, Trump called the format a "waste of time" but has opted to take his campaign rallies virtual anyways, with one slated for Friday on the Rush Limbaugh radio show.

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“What this shows is that he is thinking of himself and not thinking of our country," Romero said. "He is the leader of our country and he is up for reelection and he should follow the rules. He always talks about the rule of law. Well, follow the rules. I think this just shows that Vice President Biden is ready to take that role and lead our country. He leads by example.”

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