Vice President Kamala Harris stumbled over a question about her selection as President Joe Biden’s running mate due to her race and gender in a recently issued podcast—illustrating the criticism that Harris has faced throughout her term.
In the podcast, conducted by Astead Herndon of The New York Times, Herndon sought to hone in on the process by which Biden picked Harris. He noted that Biden had winnowed the selection down to four black women, and referenced the open letter addressed to Biden by 200 black women which stated: ‘It is a fact that the road to the White House is powered by black women and black women are the key to a Democratic victory in 2020.’
Just listened to NYT’s The Run-Up podcast interview with Kamala Harris. She was awful. Like she had never done a day of media training ever. Defensive. Needlessly argumentative with a generally sympathetic interviewer. The opposite of nimble. Apparently unable to pivot to her…
— Kenny Farquharson (@KennyFarq) November 19, 2023
Further, he pointed out that Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters declared in August 2020 that Biden would choose a black woman as his running mate due to his primary success with black voters.
Herndon then asked the Vice President how it felt to be picked based on her racial and sexual identity instead of achievements. Harris responded ambivalently, saying she “honestly (didn’t) understand” the question. Herndon then let the question linger before moving on.
Longtime Harris ally and Democratic Sen. Laphonza Butler of California described the criticism of the Vice President as “disrespectful.”
“And the thing that makes it more disrespectful is that we’re talking about a historic VP who has been a high-quality partner and asset to the country at a time when everything is at stake,” she said.
But according to LaTosha Brown, who helped found Black Voters Matter, Harris’ lack of success is the fault of Democrats and their inability to accept the Vice President’s accomplishments.
“I think there have been saboteurs within the administration,” Brown said. “I think that they are worried about the age contrast. And they are worried about Kamala outshining Biden.”
Harris’ response to the question posed by Herndon during the podcast was viewed as a stumble,and her critics wasted no time ripping her apart. Harris supporters, however, believe her stumbles are a result of continuous criticism that does not take into account the impact of her tenure—a tenure that has been marked by notable successes. Whether it be due to her accomplishments or criticisms—either way, it appears that a large emphasis is being placed on the personhood of Kamala Harris.