In the second debate ahead of the U.S Presidential election in November 2020, Vice President Mike Pence and his Democratic rival Kamala Harris had a much more civil and balanced discussion in comparison to the childish debacle between Trump and Biden.
Due to the President and his close aides testing positive for the virus, as a precautionary measure, the candidates were separated by thick-sheets of see-through plexiglass and the audience was instructed to be seated with adequate distance between each other.
The debate was moderated by USA Today’s Washington bureau chief Susan Page and lasted for 90 minutes where the candidates discussed issues such as the pandemic, economy, women’s rights, climate change, police brutality, racism, and international relations.
Harris’ “desi-mother’s stare” towards Pence
Even though there were no personal attacks to “shut up, man” or speaking over each other, Pence did find himself interrupting Harris a few times and talking beyond his time. Harris responded to this by reminding him that “she’s speaking” and to “let her finish” her sentences and one could visibly see her frustration and disapproval of Pence supporting the Trump administration. Some Twitter users noticed Kamala Harris’ gaze and expressions towards Pence and likened it to a “desi mother’s stare”.
Mike Pence’s Fly stole the show
Apart from the countless memes and jokes on Kamala Harris’ desi mother’s stare and other expressions towards Mike Pence, the debate’s most talked-about segment was when a fly rested itself upon Pence’s head and remained there for two minutes straight.
Soon, the fly started creating a buzz on social media, and Former Vice and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also joined in the conversation and tweeted a photograph of himself with a fly swatter in his hand. “Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly,” he wrote. His campaign set up a website, flywillvote.com, to register voters. According to the Indian Express, it was selling a “Truth over Flies” fly swatter for $10. Within an hour.
Some Democrats took this opportunity to mock the spread of COVID-19 in the White House - “The fly needs to be quarantined,” Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar wrote. Republican Senator Rand Paul made a lighthearted dig back at the Democrats by saying, “The deep state planted a bug on @VP. This illegal spying is really out of control”.
Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show on CBS also commented on the fly saying that by resting on Pence’s head for about 2 minutes, the fly showed a greater attention span than Trump.
After the video started circulating across social media, there was a flood of accounts dedicated to the fly on Pence’s head.
Some Twitter users compared Pence’s unawareness of the fly to President Obama’s encounter with a pestering fly in a 2009 interview where he carefully swatted the fly with his hands.