Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the Biden administration.
The interview was not as friendly as Harris may have hoped, and her interactions with host Savannah Guthrie became heated on multiple occasions.
Guthrie began by asking Harris whether Biden’s comments about Russia during a news conference on Wednesday provided a “green light to Vladimir Putin to take a piece of Ukraine.”
While Biden said that Russia “will be held accountable if it invades,” he added that “it depends on what it does.”
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do,” the president said.
Biden on Russia invading Ukraine:
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion…” pic.twitter.com/BFp5jnJYPI
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 19, 2022
Many people felt this comment signaled to Putin that the United States would look the other way if Russia committed a “minor incursion,” which is what Guthrie was asking about.
Harris responded by repeating the same sort of rhetoric Biden used on Wednesday, claiming that “the president has been very clear … if Putin takes aggressive action, we are prepared to levy serious and severe costs, period.”
Guthrie, however, questioned her claim about the president’s clarity.
“I’m so sorry to interrupt, but it is less than clear because 30 minutes after the news conference, the White House press secretary had to actually clarify the president’s remarks,” Guthrie said.
“Savannah, I’m being clear with you right now, and so if you’re interested, I’ll continue to be clear,” Harris responded bluntly.
Guthrie pressed Harris further, asking whether there was “any amount of land that Russia could take that the president would allow, turn a blind eye to, not issue those, quote, severe sanctions he’s been threatening.”
Harris danced around the question, saying that if Russia was “denying or violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the administration would interpret that as “aggressive” and issue “a severe cost.”
Moving on from Russia, the “Today” host asked Harris about Biden’s comments regarding the integrity of the November elections. Guthrie said the president “openly cast doubt on whether the 2022 midterm elections would be legitimate.”
REPORTER: Will the midterm elections be fair and legitimate if the voting bill isn’t passed?
BIDEN: “It depends on whether or not we’ll be able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election.” pic.twitter.com/COCp5RSfXB
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 19, 2022
“Is he really concerned that we may not have fair and free elections?” she asked.
Harris began talking about the Democrats’ voting rights package, which includes the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. She said without the package being passed, laws in certain states would make it difficult for certain people to vote.
The package seems to be dead in the Senate, which prompted the next question Guthrie asked Harris about Biden’s views.
“The specific question, if you don’t mind, does he think now that these bills haven’t been passed, that the ’22 midterms won’t be legitimate or fair or free?”
Harris once again didn’t answer that question, saying instead that Americans should not “conflate issues” — even though it was Biden himself who suggested the 2022 midterms might not be fair if the package was not passed.
Finally, Guthrie asked whether Democrats should have been more willing to compromise in the past year given the very slim majority they have had to get legislation passed in the Senate.
“Well, when I look back on this year, I think about things like the bipartisan infrastructure law,” Harris said. “Administrations both Democrat and Republican have tried for years –“
Before Harris could launch into her diatribe about the law, Guthrie interrupted her.
“Doesn’t that show Republicans were willing to help if the initiatives were good?” she asked.
Harris looked frustrated and said, “Please let me finish!” She then continued talking about the infrastructure law instead of answering Guthrie’s question.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 20, 2022
The “Today” host eventually told her they were out of time.
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