Fact check: Kamala Harris and Mike Pence debate

 Fact check: Kamala Harris and Mike Pence debate

In the first half of the debate, they tangled over the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, the economy and the climate crisis.

CNN’s team is watching the debate in Salt Lake City and will be fact-checking throughout the night.

Travel restrictions

Pence claimed that Biden called Trump’s travel restrictions on China “xenophobic.”

“Biden opposed that decision. He said it was xenophobic,” Pence said.

Facts First: This needs context. It’s not clear Biden even knew about Trump’s China travel restrictions when he called Trump xenophobic on the day the restrictions were unveiled; Biden has never explicitly linked his accusation of xenophobia to these travel restrictions.

The campaign says Biden’s January 31 accusations — that Trump has a record of “hysterical xenophobia” and “fear mongering” — were not about the travel restrictions at all. The campaign says Biden did not know about the restrictions at the time of his speech, since his campaign event in Iowa started shortly after the Trump administration briefing where the restrictions were revealed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Given the timing of Biden’s remarks, it’s not unreasonable for Pence to infer that the former vice president was talking about the travel restrictions. But Biden never took an explicit position on the restrictions until his April declaration of support.

You can read more about Biden’s comments here.

Holmes Lybrand

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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