White House Official Finally Says Something After Audience Gives Kamala Harris Awkward Reception: 'You Can Clap!'
There was an awkward moment filled with mostly silence when Vice President Kamala Harris entered the room to meet with students visiting the White House Thursday from historically black colleges.
White House aide and former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms built up Harris’ arrival, saying, “We have a very special guest, as you all know. I know you have been waiting on this special guest, our vice president.”
The aide listed some of the vice president’s resume, noting she had been a district attorney, attorney general of California, U.S. senator, and hinted at the “historic firsts” Harris achieved as being the nation’s first female and African American to hold her current office.
Bottoms also pointed out that Harris is a Howard University alum, which is an HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) institution.
Today, I joined my fellow HBCU alumna, Keisha Lance Bottoms, to speak with HBCU student journalists about the power of their voices. I know the future of our country is bright because of their leadership. pic.twitter.com/olkxVvVAt3
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) February 24, 2023
“Will you all please stand as she enters the room,” Bottoms announced.
The students, who are all studying journalism, stood and many of them lifted their phones to record Harris as she walked in.
Bottoms encouraged the students, “You can clap. It’s OK.”
Perhaps one or two of the dozens of students clapped.
Perhaps they were trying to be respectful of the venue and Harris’ position by not welcoming her enthusiastically, or maybe they were taking a more neutral stance as journalists in training. Many simply did not have both hands free to clap, since they were recording the moment on their phones.
Conservative commentator Benny Johnson tweeted that the muted reception Harris received when she entered the room was “Just so humiliating.”
Kamala Harris enters the room to awkward silence, her audience is told “You can clap!” as she does her signature cringe cackle.
Just so humiliating.. pic.twitter.com/ZVlQb4c1vu
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) February 23, 2023
Fox News host Sean Hannity noted even after Bottoms’ prompting the students, “They still didn’t clap.”
Fox Business Network host Dagen McDowell told Hannity, “She wasn’t really that upset about the students clapping for her. She walked in there feeling saucy and sassy and vivacious and alive — because she’s not Pete Buttigieg.”
Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, received significant criticism for waiting nearly three weeks to visit the derailment site of a train carrying toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.
Fox News personality Jimmy Failla suggested the students “didn’t clap because it was one in the afternoon, and they didn’t want to wake up [President Joe] Biden.”
Hannity also noted Harris’ meeting with HBCU students “got worse with yet another rant about Venn diagrams.”
The vice president participated in a 25-minute or so Q&A session with the students that included her incorporating her oft-expressed love of Venn diagrams.
“Always ask, ‘Is there a Venn diagram for this?’ … It’s fascinating when you do,” Harris exhorted.
She then argued that there is an intersectionality to extreme climate, public health, education and equity that causes people of color to be more impacted due to where they often live.
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