Vice President Kamala Harris’s outgoing aide Symone Sanders on Friday tried to cut off an interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God in a heated exchange, after he questioned who really held the power in Washington D.C.
Harris, 57, was asked by Charlamagne – real name Lenard Larry McKelvey – on his Comedy Central show why she and President Joe Biden were unable to press their flagship $1.75 trillion Build Back Better legislation.
His question so angered Harris that her aide, Symone Sanders, could be heard off-camera on the other end of the remote interview, shouting: ‘I’m so sorry Charlamagne, it’s Symone, we have to wrap.’
‘She can hear me,’ Charlamagne chuckles. Sanders responds: ‘Can you hear me now? I’m sorry but we have to wrap. I’m sorry to interrupt.’
‘They’re acting like they can’t hear me, yo,’ Charlamagne says, turning to a producer off-camera, implying that Harris’ team is faking technical issues.
Harris, looking tense, stared at Charlamagne and replied, ‘I can hear you,’ allowing the interviewer to finally continue with his question.
Kamala Harris on Friday appeared on Charlamagne Tha God’s show on Comedy Central for an interview which became uncomfortably heated
Harris reacted with anger when Charlamagne questioned who the real president was
‘So who’s the real president of this country? Is it Joe Manchin or Joe Biden?’ Charlamagne asks.
‘Come on, Charlamagne,’ Harris says. ‘Come on. It’s Joe Biden.’
Charlamagne replies: ‘I can’t tell sometimes.’
Harris, growing visibly angry, wags her finger at the host and says: ‘No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
‘It’s Joe Biden, and don’t start talking like a Republican about asking whether or not he’s president. And it’s Joe Biden. And I’m vice president and my name is Kamala Harris.’
Sanders, the aide who attempted to cut off the interview, is the vice president’s chief spokeswoman, who is one of at least four top aides to announce their departures from Harris’ staff in recent weeks.
The 32-year-old Sanders will leave by the end of December, but no announcement has been made on whether she has lined up another job, sparking questions over the circumstances surrounding her departure.
In the interview, Charlamagne then asked why Biden was unable to convince Joe Manchin, the powerful West Virginia senator, to vote for his proposal.
Manchin’s stubborn refusal to back the government’s plan has put severe obstacles in the passage of Biden’s bill.
Joe Manchin, the West Virginia senator who has frequently refused to back Biden’s policies, was described by Charlamagne as the real president – to the anger of Harris
Kamala Harris’s gaffes
Asked by NBC’s Lester Holt why she hadn’t yet, in her role as Biden’s border tsar, visited the U.S.-Mexico border, she replied: ‘And I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t … understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.’
Harris was asked about proposals to enforce voter ID, and said that she was opposed to it because people outside the cities may not be able to print off copies of their documentation.
‘There are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t — there’s no Kinko’s, there’s no Office Max near them,’ she said, to widespread mockery.
A student attending an event to promote voting said that Israel was conducting an ‘ethnic genocide’ in Palestine.
Harris responded: ‘Your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard.’
Her office spent the next day trying to calm furious pro-Israel politicians and diplomats.
Harris was found to have used child actors in the recording of a video promoting space, with children gushing about how much they loved science and technology.
The vice president, on a visit to Paris, was mocked for meeting a group of French scientists working in a lab, and speaking to them with a French accent.
On Friday, it was becoming apparent that Democrats were unable to pass Biden’s $1.75 trillion domestic investment program and major election reforms by a self-imposed Christmas deadline.
The deadlock over these two high-profile bills put in jeopardy the continuation of an expanded child tax credit for some 3.6 million poor families, which expires on December 31.
Democrats had hoped to extend for another year this six-month-old pilot program as part of Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ legislation that would expand an array of social programs and battle climate change.
Manchin has been a key holdout and his support is crucial in a chamber where the Democrats have the slimmest margin of control.
Earlier, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that recent talks with Manchin were encouraging.
‘The president’s going to get this done and we’re going to get it across the finish line. And yes, it’s going to take more time than we anticipated,’ she told reporters aboard Air Force One as Biden traveled to South Carolina.
Harris told Charlamagne on Friday that the administration had already made great strides, and listed their policy achievements and plans.
‘I hear the frustration. but let’s not deny the impact that we’ve had, and agree also that there is a whole lot more work to be done.
‘And it is not easy to do, but we will not give up. And I will not give up,’ she concluded.
A conciliatory Charlamagne replied: ‘I just want you to know, Madame Vice President, that Kamala Harris, that’s the one I like.
‘That’s the one that was putting the pressure on people in Senate hearings.
‘That’s the one I’d like to see more often out here in these streets.’
The vice president was highly tipped to be the Democrat nominee in 2024 before she took office, and failed to impress.
Less than half of Americans now approve of the job she is doing.
A new Hill/HarrisX poll released on Tuesday shows 43 per cent of registered voters approve of Harris’s performance, while 50 per cent say they disapprove.
The same poll taken December 6-7 shows 7 per cent of respondents are unsure of their approval of the vice president.
Harris, asked on Friday by The Los Angeles Times, would not say whether she felt that her gender and race were a factor in her low approval ratings.
‘I’ll leave that to other people to evaluate,’ she said.
She also dodged questions about her poor handling of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and her high turnover of staff.
A new poll released Tuesday shows only 43 per cent of registered voters approve of the job Kamala Harris is doing as vice president