Senator Kamala Harris refused to let the VP debate descend into chaos, telling Vice President Mike Pence, ‘I’m speaking,’ after he continually interrupted her time.

Kamala Harris did not come to play. The California senator, 55, refused to deal with interruptions at the vice presidential debate, firmly telling Vice President Mike Pence to let her speak as he continuously tried to drown her out. Harris first called out Pence, 61, for the first time just minutes into the October 7 debate as he attempted to spin his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pence was asked about President Donald Trump‘s unearthed February 2020 interview with journalist Bob Woodward, in which he revealed that he knew about the dangers of COVID-19 from the beginning. Pence tried to argue that Trump hid the severity of the pandemic in order to keep the public “calm.” Harris wasn’t having that. After successfully getting Pence to stop speaking, moderator Susan Page allowed Harris to have 15 more seconds to make her point. And she used that time wisely.

“I want to ask the American public,” Harris began. “How calm were you when you were panicked about where you were going to get your next roll of toilet paper? How calm were you when your kids were sent home from school and you didn’t know when they could go back? How calm were you when your children couldn’t see your parents because you afraid they could kill them?”

Kamala Harris Mike Pence
2020 Democratic VP candidate, Senator Kamala Harris and Republican VP candidate, Vice President Mike Pence (AP)

Harris politely told Pence “I’m speaking” several times throughout the 90-minute debate. It was a stark contrast from the first presidential debate, during which Trump and Harris’ running mate Joe Biden, as well as moderator Chris Wallace, repeatedly yelled over each other, disregarding the rules agreed upon by both candidates. At one point, an exasperated Biden told Trump, “will you shut up, man” and called him a “clown.”

Twitter erupted with praise for Harris after seeing her deftly handle Pence during the first, and only vice presidential debate before the November 3 election. “I’M SPEAKING” immediately started trending. ““I’m speaking. I’M speaking.” I hope every little girl heard that,” actress Uzo Aduba tweeted. “‘I’m speaking.’ This should be a 101 taught to all young girls. Nobody taught us this in the ’80s,” a voter tweeted. “When Kamala says, ‘Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking,’ all the hair goes up on the back of my neck. She is a BAD ASS,” director Paul Feig wrote.

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