Home 2020 Elections Video: Sen. Mark Warner Debates His Republican Challenger at Norfolk State University

Video: Sen. Mark Warner Debates His Republican Challenger at Norfolk State University

Gade claims his previous assertion that a mask mandate is "what tyranny feels like" was just making a "philosophical point." Huh?

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See below for video of this evening’s debate between Sen. Mark Warner and his Republican challenger, Daniel Gade. As I wrote prior to the first Warner vs. Gade debate, just remember a few things as you watch the first U.S. Senate debate of 2020: 1) Sen. Mark Warner has been doing a superb job on a wide range of areas and richly deserves to be reelected by a big margin on November 3rd; 2) Republican nominee Daniel Gade has run a highly dishonest campaign (also see here), something we can almost certainly expect to continue during tonight’s debate; 3) Gade has campaigned with far-right extremist Amanda Chase, who had previously bragged about how she’s helping Daniel Gade run right now for U.S. Senate [against Sen. Mark Warner] and coaching him”; 4) Gade himself is very extreme, including having “advocated for abolishing the Department of Education,” “oppos[ing] anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ+ Americans,” etc.; and 5) Gade has repeatedly refused to wear a mask at crowded Republican events and has even called mask wearing a form of “tyranny.” So…yeah, this is not a difficult choice at all: GO MARK WARNER!

  • It’s so weird to see Gade flip flip all over the place regarding his views on mandating the wearing orf masks to prevent COVID-19. Previously, he called it “tyranny,” now he says…nah, forget I ever said that!  Gade also said he thought Trump handled the COVID crisis well, while now he’s all about taking it seriously, wearing masks, etc? Whatever that is, it’s not consistent, nor is it serious leadership.
  • Later in the debate, Gade was asked specifically about calling a mask mandate “ridiculous and “what tyranny feels like.” Gade claimed he was making a “philosophical point” previously, “and maybe I mangled the point.” Uh, alrighty.
  • Gade said he disavows racism and white supremacists – even said he doesn’t want their vote or money – said Trump “badly fumbled” the question at the debate the other day and also during the Charlottesville white supremacist riots.
  • Warner said Trump was wrong when he said there were fine people on both sides in Charlottesville, and was wrong at the debate for not calling out white supremacists.
  • Warner said he’s supported body cameras since 2016; believes the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 “strikes that right balance on prohibiting chokeholds, on getting rid of no-knock warrants, on dealing with qualified immunity…and I hope and wish we’d get a chance to vote on it on the floor.”
  • On defunding the police, Gade said he thinks police need MORE funding. He called the idea of defunding the police “evil.” Warner said he does not support defunding the police, and in certain areas – such as training, additional mental health officers – believes we may need *additional* funding.
  • Gade said banning chokeholds is a “feel-good measure,” that chokeholds can result in a police officer not have to resort to lethal force. He ranted about “Washington swamp creatures” and said a chokehold in jujitsu is “considered to be a normal move that results in submission of the opponent,” and that actually chokeholds can save lives. Asked if chokeholds had something to do with George Floyd’s death, Gade responded, “absolutely not – George Floyd’s death was a murder, cold and plain and simple, because the police officer was not using a chokehold. As a matter of fact, he just put his knee on his neck and he stayed there for 9 minutes until George Floyd died…it was a tragedy…a travesty…What we should have is a bystander requirement…that requires cops…to step in, because those police officers around him were just as bad as the man who was kneeling on his neck.”
  • Also on the subject of chokeholds, Sen. Warner said George Floyd and Eric Garner would be alive if there were prohibitions on chokeholds. Warner added, don’t take his word for it, but the word of law enforcement experts who have been part of drafting the Justice in Policing Act.
  • On Black Lives Matter, Sen. Warner said it’s a statement we should have been making for 100s of years, that we still live with the stain of racism in this country. He said he thinks it’s about social justice, but that we also have to enforce the law and violence has no place in protest movements. Gade said he agreed with Sen. Warner, that BLM is “in the main a social justice movement.”
  • Both Sen. Warner and Gade said they support reforming qualified immunity for law enforcement. Warner said that, “too often, qualified immunity has been used as a shield against inappropriate behavior.” Warner added that the vast majority of police officers want to do the right thing, and he strongly supports them. Warner said he stands with the police organizations that want to make significant changes, while his opponent stands with those that don’t want to make significant changes.
  • On the use of military equipment by police departments, both candidates expressed concerns. Sen. Warner again pointed to the Justice in Policing Act as a comprehensive approach to this question and others.
  • On mandating a COVID-19 vaccine to students going back to public school, Gade said he does not believe the government has the authority under the constitution to mandate that. Gade said it “makes my skin crawl” to have the government with the power to mandate putting something in a child’s body. Sen. Warner said he doesn’t think we can mandate a childhood vaccination, but he also thinks there’s a lot of misinformation/disinformation out there, and we should follow the science.
  • Sen. Warner pushed back hard on Gade’s constant needling about Democrats voting against the pathetically weak, small, etc. Republican COVID-19 relief package. On this point, Gade is just scoring cheap points, since obviously the Republican COVID-19 relief package was a complete joke, even less than what the Trump White House was proposing, and everyone should have voted no and worked on a serious package.
  • Gade said he’ll fight to keep pre-existing conditions protections, but of course he didn’t talk about the fact that the ACA is a package, that you can’t just have pre-existing conditions protections and not everything else – “cherry pick,” in other words, as Sen. Warner said.
  • On the Washington R**skins name, Sen. Warner said he should have weighed in earlier in support of that.
  • Gade was challenged on referring to “being trapped in these nasty, failing public schools.” Gade responded by talking about school “choice and freedom,” and about the (supposed) wonders of charter schools.
  • On Confederate statues, Sen. Warner said they should be taken down and removed. Sen. Warner also said he was proud to have put up a statue of Barbara Johns. Gade said he’s fine with moving statues to a more appropriate location.
  • On the Supreme Court, Gade praised Trump’s far-right judicial picks (ugh). Sen. Warner said it’s very unusual for a president to release names in advance, let alone vetted by the “out-of-the-mainstream” Federalist Society.  Sen. Warner said, correctly, that McConnell changed his own rule about not confirming a Supreme Court Justice in an election year.
  • On the climate crisis, Sen. Warner said America needs to regain its leadership position, promote clean energy, and of course acknowledge the science. Gade claims he believes climate change is real, but would he actually break with his climate-science-denying party on this? Highly doubtful.