NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It didn’t take long for U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D) Virginia and challenger Dr. Daniel Gade (R) to get into some heated discussions at the NSU Senatorial debate Saturday evening.

When asked about supporting a national mask mandate, Warner said, “My opponent has said wearing a mask is the sign of tyranny. I could not disagree with you more.” 

Gade responded, “I don’t believe it’s in the federal authority to require a mask mandate.” 

Warner, “My opponent believes President Trump has handled the COVID crisis well. I couldn’t disagree with him more.” 

They were asked about racism in America and have they personally seen it — which Gade saw in his unit while serving in Iraq, 

“My stance against injustice is rooted in my love for the Constitution and it is demonstrated that I have sacrificed personally for this great country to protect our rights,” said Gade, who lost a leg while serving his country.  

President Trump has not been clear with disavowing racism.

It was a powerful moment for Gade when he looked into the camera and said, “If you are a white supremacist and you are watching — I don’t want your vote. I don’t want your money, and shame on your attitudes and disrespect. Now, the president badly fumbled that question.”  

Referring to the Tuesday debate with Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and his comments after the events in Charlottesville Warner added, “President Trump was wrong when he said there were good people on both sides in Charlottesville — and someone died because of white supremacist’s violent actions.” 

Warner then said to Gade, “Mr. Gade I want you to acknowledge that Mr. Trump was wrong. “ 

Gade shot back, “Senator, I just literally said that.” 

Gade then brought up when Warner appointed a “known racist” to be a judge, “You appointed the judge anyway, so don’t preach to me about what I should say. You worry about your own actions.” 

Warner, responded,  “I’m proud of our administration’s record. We were the most diverse administration at that point in our history.”

Warner supports the Justice and Policing Act of 2020 which he says strikes the right balance between police rights and people’s rights.

“I support preventing chokeholds, getting rid of no-knock warrants, dealing with qualified immunity, allowing police officers with a bad record moving from one department to another.” 

Gade responded saying, “Although Senator Warner is saying he is for all these reforms, the Police Benevolent Association is supporting me.”

Gade continued, “Senator Warner also supported $50 million dollars of cuts to the police budget.” 

Warner was quick to put that into context when he took office in 2002, he faced a $6 billion dollar shortfall.

“I was praised by law enforcement by not having greater cuts. Ask the Republican Senator at the time, Ken Stolle, who was my partner in doing tax reform that allowed the largest investment in our sheriffs and state police.” 

Warner would not support releasing body cam video, releasing names of officers, and dash cams.

“I do not support releasing that information until there is an appropriate due process.” 

Gade added, “I do support the releasing of body cams,” but did not go into further detail. 

A member of the Norfolk State University Community asked the question, “Are you in favor of defunding police departments?” 

They both said they are opposed to defunding the police, and both support the positiveness of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Gade appealed to his republican party to go in the same direction to support Black Lives Matter, 

“I just hope it doesn’t get corrupted by outside forces.” 

When Mark Warner was asked why he didn’t support forcing the name change of the Washington Redskins, which many found offensive, Warner brought up wearing masks.

“Senator Warner there is no rebuttal on the mask question, I am asking about your support in 2014 and the issue of changing the name of the Redskins,” Anita Blanton, WAVY anchor and moderator, reiterated. 

Warner, pausing, but then said, “I probably should have weighed in earlier on that issue.” 

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