Kamala Harris faced a barrage of questions about the failed voting rights legislation, 2022 midterms, COVID and weak polling during less-friendly-than-usual network interviews airing Thursday morning on the one year anniversary of her and President Joe Biden‘s inauguration.
The vice president laughed off a question about whether the administration believes they have the coronavirus pandemic under control.
‘Let’s talk about COVID because you all ran on, ‘We are going to get COVID under control, we are going to get this licked.’ As we sit here today, we’re going into year three, still talking about COVID,’ CBS Mornings host Gayle King said to Harris Thursday morning.
‘So it is not under control,’ she continued. ‘So I’m wondering what is your strategy here? And have you come to the point that we have all got to figure out how to live with COVID?’
‘So I’m going to try to unpack the various –’ Harris started before King cut in with: ‘I know there’s a lot.’
At that point Harris laughed before continuing: ‘But, they’re important points.’ She also admitted that there is still more work to be done, but did not expand on what the administration plans to do to tackle the prevailing pandemic.
Harris has faced a slew of criticism for laughing at inappropriate times during interviews and remarks, including when talking about COVID and the southern border crisis.
When asked on Today about voting rights legislation, which was defeated Wednesday evening in the Senate, the vice president deflected to listing initiatives that were passed in Year One, including the bipartisan infrastructure law.
‘The president put a lot of blame yesterday on Republicans for failure to get some of these key initiatives passed. But, you know, you have a 50-50 tie in the United States senate, as you are well aware. Did the administration fail to temper its initiatives to meet political reality?’ Today host Savannah Guthrie asked Harris.
‘In other words, should you have been more willing to compromise to try to get all Democrats on board? These initiatives failed because Democrats weren’t united let alone Republicans. Was that an error as you look back on this year?’
‘Well, when I look back on this year, I think about things like the bipartisan infrastructure law. Administrations, both Democrat and Republican, have tried for years –’ Harris started before being cut off.
‘Well, doesn’t that show Republicans were willing to help if the initiatives were good?’ Guthrie posed.
Harris shot back: ‘Please let me finish.’
Vice President Kamala Harris faced a barrage of questions on failed voting rights legislation, bad poll numbers, broken COVID promises and whether the 2022 election will be fair in a round of interviews Thursday morning – on the one year anniversary of her inauguration
Harris refused to answer questions posed by Today show’s Savannah Guthrie on if Democrats are in part to blame for the voting rights package failing in the Senate on Wednesday evening
In the same interview, Harris refused to answer and dodged several questions on whether President Joe Biden believes the 2022 midterm elections will be fair now that the voting rights package failed to pass the Senate.
At a few points during the back-and-forth with Guthrie, Harris asked the Today show host to allow her to finish answering questions, despite the deflective nature of them.
When pushed by King in her CBS interview, Harris also deflected when asked what the administration will do to continue pushing voting rights legislation.
‘I know it was a very long night in the Senate last night,’ King said. ‘As expected, the voting rights legislation did not pass last night, in part because of two of your own party members. But the president says he can take action to protect the voting rights. What specifically are you going to do?’
After the vice president gave a long answer about why voting rights are important, King further pushed for a direct answer.
‘So what are you going to do? I mean, you all have laid out the case very nicely about what’s at stake. And now we’re here, and it didn’t pass. What will you do?’ she reiterated.
‘What we will do is we will keep fighting to get the legislation passed because that is critical,’ she laid out. ‘So we are not giving up on that.’
‘And then it is a matter of continuing to do the work of executive orders, doing the work through the Department of Justice, which has been litigating these cases in the various states because we believe that they are a violation of the spirit of the Constitution of the United States. It is going to be about continuing to elevate this conversation.’
Harris also joined CBS Mornings on Thursday where she was pushed on what the administration plans to do to continue fighting for expanded voting rights
Biden suffered a stinging defeat Wednesday night as Senate Democrats failed to advance their voting rights legislation in yet another major blow to the president’s domestic agenda.
‘I am profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy. I am disappointed — but I am not deterred,’ Biden wrote in a statement late Wednesday.
He was handed another blow the same night as Democratic centrist Senators Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona joined all 50 Republicans to thwart their own party in changing Senate rules to overcome a Republican filibuster after a raw, emotional debate.
Harris was standing by to break a 50-50 tie, but the rules change was rejected in a 52-48 vote, and Harris left before the final roll call.
Democrats needed 60 votes in order to end debate and initiate a vote on the legislation that would overhaul U.S. voting laws.
The package combined two separate legislative items that were already passed by the House — the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bills would make Election Day a holiday, adjust the redistricting process and crack down on money in politics.
‘Every member of the United States Senate—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—takes an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution. It is their duty to safeguard our democracy and secure the freedom to vote,’ Harris wrote in a Wednesday evening statement on Republicans blocking the legislation.
‘Yet today, Senators voted to preserve an arcane Senate procedure rather than secure that fundamental freedom,’ she continued. ‘The American people will not forget this moment. Neither will history.’