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Both Pence and Harris completely dodged a question about presidential succession

October 8, 2020, 2:24 AM UTC

During Wednesday’s vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris, moderator Susan Page asked a question on the mind of many Americans following President Trump’s hospitalization for COVID-19: “Have you had a conversation, or reached an agreement with [Trump or Biden] about safeguards or procedures when it comes to presidential disability?”

In other words: Are they prepared to succeed as President?

Both vice presidential candidates dodged the question entirely.

“Thank you. I would like to go back,” Pence, who was asked first, responded in reference to the previous discussion about the Trump administration’s plans for a COVID-19 vaccine. “The reality is that we’re going to have a vaccine, senator, in record time.”

Page did not press Pence to respond but pointed out that he did not answer when raising the same question to Harris. She, too, ignored the question and instead used it as a segue to deliver her biography, bringing up the day Biden asked her over Zoom to run as his vice president. Again, Page did not press her.

Harris’ decision to dodge the question was almost certainly intentional—Biden would be 78 by the time he assumed office, if elected. That would make him the oldest President in U.S. history.

Trump isn’t far behind at age 74 and, unlike Biden, was diagnosed with COVID-19—a virus with increased mortality rates in older individuals.