Ahead of the vice presidential debate on Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) campaign requested the candidates be separated by a slab of plexiglass following President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign reportedly opposed the measure at first, Politico reported, but ended up agreeing to Harris’ request with a mocking statement.
“If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it,” said Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller.
Pence and Harris will now sit 13 feet apart on the debate stage – an increase from the previous seven feet – and be separated by the plexiglass. Both Harris and Pence have tested negative for COVID-19.
As USA Today reported, the Commission on Presidential Debates made the announcement on Monday that plexiglass would separate the candidates, as well as other health safety protocols such as testing and masks. The commission said anyone who does not wear a mask inside the debate hall will be removed.
The outlet also noted that this would be the second debate to separate candidates by plexiglass. On Saturday evening, Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, who is running to unseat incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), installed a plexiglass barrier to separate himself from Graham.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about the people in my life that I have to take care of, as well, my two boys, my wife, my grandma,” Harrison said, according to MRCTV. The outlet noted that Harrison made the comment while “standing next to the partition supposedly meant to stave off an airborne flu and which only extended a few inches above his head.”
Graham had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the debate, though several people he had been near recently had tested positive.
The pointless extra precaution will also separate the candidates from the debate moderator, who was already going to be seated more than the CDC recommended six feet away from the candidates.
Harris’ press secretary, Sabrina Singh, tweeted Tuesday that it was “interesting that Katie Miller mocks our wanting a plexiglass barrier on the debate stage” suggesting that Pence should want the barrier as well since he was “supposedly in charge of the Covid-19 task force and should be advocating for this too.”
The request comes after Democrats and their media supporters insisted Trump was sicker than he appeared to be while hospitalized after his COVID-19 diagnosis. Despite regular footage of Trump walking around and acting normally, as well as his doctors saying his symptoms were clearing, the media reported minor conflicting statements in a way that suggested Trump was near death. Outlets went so far as to claim a commonly prescribed drug – Dexamethasone – was dangerous and meant Trump had a severe case of COVID-19, even though such a severe case would be obvious during Trump’s recorded messages to the American public.
Some even tried to claim the photos of Trump working that were released by the White House were photoshopped or fake, showing their lack of knowledge surrounding cameras and lighting.