V.P. Kamala Harris Dodges Questions About Her Responsibilities

Photo edit of Kamala Harris. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Popacta.
Photo edit of Kamala Harris. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Popacta.

During an interview with Stephen Colbert on the Late Show, Vice President Kamala Harris was caught off guard by a question about the actual role of the Vice President in the executive branch of government. The interview began with Harris acknowledging the similarity between her life as VP and the HBO comedy “Veep,” which Colbert jokingly asked if it was accurate. Harris would then grin, and shared an anecdote about her staffer accidentally filling her office with smoke by lighting the fireplace without opening the flue.

Harris: “I know you love ‘Veep’.”

Colbert: “I do! I love ‘Veep.’ Is it accurate?”

Colbert continued the conversation by asking about the vague duties of the role, as depicted in the show, and whether it was true for Harris. He asked about her actual role on a daily basis, to which Harris responded by stating her privilege of serving with President Joe Biden, who is a true partner and understands the job. She also mentioned that they came in during the height of the pandemic and had to cover a lot of bases together. However, in the end, she avoided answering the question.

Colbert: “One of the themes of the show is that her character, Selina Meyer, is frustrated by the sometimes vague duties of the role. It’s a high constitutional office but does not describe what you’re supposed to be doing. Does that ring true? Like, what’s the actual role on a daily basis as you have found it?”

Harris: “Well, I have the great privilege of serving with Joe Biden, who is the President of the United States… and was Vice President.”

Colbert: “Does he understand what it’s like to be Vice President?”

Harris: “He does, he does. He really is a true partner and he understands that job. And remember, we came in during the height of the pandemic. And so much of the work was about okay, we’ve got to cover a lot of bases and let’s figure out between us how we can do it. But he’s an extraordinary leader and I wish people could see what I see because there’s only one person who sits behind that Resolute Desk. And the decisions that person has to make are the decisions that nobody else in the country can make. And he’s an extraordinary leader. He really is.”

When Colbert asked if Biden understands what it’s like to be Vice President, Harris confidently replied that he does, as he was once a Vice President himself. However, when Colbert pointed out that Harris did not answer the initial question about the job of the Vice President, she burst out laughing.

Colbert: “And, uh, the question was what’s the job of the Vice President? And your answer is part of the job, I’m guessing.”

Harris: (laughs) “I did go to the Munich Security Conference, and I spoke to the leaders of our allies and declared that what Russia has done is a crime against humanity.”

The exchange between Harris and Colbert was overall intended to be light-hearted, however, many noticed that Harris would not elaborate on what her exact role is as Vice President. While the Vice President is second in command and a close advisor to the President, the specifics of their job duties are not clearly defined in the Constitution, and many past VPs grew irritated with their role, as they felt their role was more so a figurehead with very limited responsibilities. As a result, Vice Presidents have had varying levels of involvement in Presidential decision-making and policymaking throughout history, however, in the case of Harris, trying to define her role is near impossible.

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1 year ago

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