Vice President Kamala Harris said anti-democratic forces who have emerged in the mainstream of American politics have weakened the nation at home and undermined our legitimacy abroad, joining President Joe Biden in portraying it as a major threat.
Asked in a meeting which aired Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” that threats from the United States pose a risk equal to or greater than that which the nation faced 21 years ago on 9/11, Harris relied on the oath of office she had taken as attorney, attorney general, senator, and vice president to uphold the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic — and we do not compare the two.”
“It’s very dangerous, and I think very harmful. And it makes us weaker,” Harris said.
She singled out elected leaders — including those currently running to oversee elections in some states — who continue to question the integrity of the vote, and others who refused to condemn the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“I think what this sends is a signal that makes people wonder, ‘Hey, does America still appreciate what they’re talking about?'” she said. “I think through the process we’ve been through, we’re starting to allow people to question our commitment to these principles. And that’s a shame.”
Now, less than 60 days before the midterm elections, Biden and Harris are touting the administration’s suddenly bolstered record of achievements and pointing out what they see as threats to freedoms such as the right to vote and the right to abortion, with Harris in the interview blasting what she called an “activist” Supreme Court that struck down Roe v. Wade.
Speaking at a court conference on Friday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts responded to those who questioned the court’s legitimacy, according to Colorado Springs. Gazette newspaper. “The court has always ruled on controversial cases and the decisions have always been the subject of intense criticism, and that is entirely appropriate,” Roberts said, according to The report. “But I don’t understand the connection between opinions that people disagree with and the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.”
But Biden and Harris also worked to paint a stark contrast to what they described as fringe but maintain there are powerful forces within the GOP that threaten the very character of the nation.
Harris defended Biden’s stark language on what he called hardline “MAGA” Republicans, including describing them as “semi-fascist.”
“Joe Biden has spent his entire career … working across the aisle, his entire career. At times he was criticized for believing in bipartisanship, for believing in compromise, for believing in working across the aisle, finding common ground,” she said.
“But there are times when we also have to agree, all good people who care about our country, that there are those who right now are clearly not standing up for our democracy,” Harris added. “And I think we want our Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States to stand up and sound the alarm about what that means for our strength and our future, let alone our integrity.
Even with those warnings, some Democratic candidates and campaign committees have worked tactically to spur election deniers and more right-wing candidates in key races in hopes of improving Democratic candidates’ chances. Harris avoided questioning whether this was a tactic at odds with his own rhetoric about the issues this November.
“I’m not going to tell people how to run their campaigns,” Harris said. “I know it’s best to let a candidate, along with his advisers, let him make the decision based on what he thinks is in the best interests of his state. I’m not going to tell people what to do that way.
In remarks to the Democratic National Committee on Saturday, Harris again spoke about how much Democrats could accomplish in the years to come with just two more votes in the Senate. “I look forward to voting to break the filibuster of voting rights and reproductive rights,” she said.
But when asked in the interview if the Democrats would go further and abolish the filibuster altogether, she said it was “very likely” he would be kept in place for other issues, and said she was not comfortable with the idea that a filibuster exclusion on these specific issues would be extended to all legislation.
Harris’ appearance on “Meet The Press” was her most in-depth national interview in months, and comes as she and top advisers in her office and the West Wing worked for consolidate its role in administration.
Biden’s decision early in the administration to task Harris with addressing the causes of migration from Central and South America that led to a push at the U.S.-Mexico border appears to underscore his office’s challenges .
During the interview, conducted as Harris traveled to Houston to visit the Johnson Space Center, the vice president said the border was secure but acknowledged “there are still a lot of issues that we’re trying to resolve. given the deterioration that has occurred over the past four years.”
“We also need to put in place a law and a plan for a pathway to citizenship for the millions of people who are here and are willing to do what is legally required to obtain citizenship. We don’t have that in place because people do politics in a state like this and in Congress,” she said.
Harris said she spoke with most of her predecessors, including Mike Pence and Al Gore, about the challenges inherent in the office.
“I think there’s no doubt that the role and responsibility of the vice president is very important. And Joe Biden knows that better than anyone,” she said. President, to do what I can to be a great partner, to confront and help confront some of the biggest issues affecting our country, both domestically and in terms of foreign policy. And so that’s the job I do.
Just this week, as Biden hosted the unveiling of his official portrait, he highlighted the relationship he and Barack Obama had developed over their eight years together.
Harris said she and Biden have also forged a close partnership.
“We talk a lot about family. We talk about our hopes, we talk about our dreams, we talk about the things that concern us, that worry us, the things that, that motivate us about everything that we do. It’s a real friendship. We have a real friendship and I cherish it,” she said.
Harris said she would be “proudly” to run again with Biden if he runs for a second term, reiterating that Biden himself “has been very clear about his intention to run again.”