Vice President Kamala Harris avoided answering whether or not she agrees with President Joe Biden’s call last weekend for a Russian regime change, giving a two-minute non-answer Friday on MSNBC.
Harris, 57, dodged answering host Joy Reid’s question about if the VP ‘agreed’ with Biden that ‘Vladimir Putin should no longer be the leader of Russia.’
Biden, 79, made an off-the-cuff remark in Warsaw, Poland, appearing to call for a regime change in Moscow, saying last Saturday: ‘For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.’ Biden later said the shocking comments were his personal opinion and not a policy change.
The unscripted remark, which the White House scrambled to walk back as the Kremlin expressed fury, came at the end of an otherwise resolute and fiery speech rallying the free world to unite in opposition to autocracy and support Ukraine.
Now, the VP finds herself in the hot seat about what she thinks, telling Reid Friday: ‘Listen, I think you frame the point quite accurately and well, which is America’s policy has been and will continue to be focused on the real issue at hand.’
She said the humanitarian and security assistance were the ‘needs of the Ukrainian people’ and that Putin would face a consequence for the invasion.
‘There are serious consequences for Vladimir Putin and Russian aggression as it relates to Ukraine,’ she continued.
The VP avoided giving a straight answer on her personal opinion of Putin’s continued leadership in Russia, but instead focused on the ‘impacts’ the Biden administration has made toward Russia, including imposing sanctions.
‘Which is why our policy from the beginning has been about ensuring that there are going to be real costs exacted against Russia in the form of severe sanctions, which are having a real impact and immediate impact, not to mention the longer term impact, which is about saying there is going to be consequence and accountability when you commit the kinds of atrocities that he is committing,’ she went on, avoiding answering the question – although she eventually told Reid: ‘We are not into regime change and that is not our policy.’
Harris, 57, dodged answering MSNBC host Joy Reid’s question about the VP if she ‘agreed’ with Biden that ‘Vladimir Putin should no longer be the leader of Russia.’ She avoided giving her real opinion it, instead she highlighted her recent travels around Europe and how the US is helping Ukraine in the war
MSNBC’s Joy Reid (pictured) tried to evoke a response from Harris but the VP kept it professional, stating: ‘We are not into regime change and that is not our policy. Period.’
She continued to babble about her recent European travels, as well as Biden – whom she called an ‘extraordinary leader’ – and how she’s been to France and Poland and more, to discuss the war with world leaders.
‘I will tell you in sitting down with prime ministers and presidents, often the first thing they would say to me is thank you to the United States and this administration for bringing us together,’ Harris said.
She went on to talk about how the U.S. built the ‘coalition for reinvigorating the relationship between the United States and its NATO allies’ and its ‘relationship and importance of the relationship to the EU’ to Ukraine.
‘Which is ultimately about one of the most important principles we’re fighting for, the importance of sovereignty territorial integrity,’ Harris said.
Reid didn’t push the VP for a solid answer right away, but later circled back, asking once again: ‘So no luck on getting you to weigh in on whether he should remain?’
‘Listen, let me be very clear, let me be very clear,” Harris replied. ‘We are not into regime change and that is not our policy. Period.’
Biden, 79, made an off-the-cuff remark in Warsaw, Poland, appearing to call for regime change in Moscow, stating last week: ‘For God’s sake this man cannot remain in power.’ Biden later said the shocking comments was his personal opinion and not a policy change
The two women also discussed sanctions and the longevity of them.
When asked if the administration would impose such sanctions on Russia as long as Putin is in power, Harris refused to ‘speculate about the future,’ but said the sanctions are ‘intact.’
‘We will continue to upgrade them and make them so – more severe as appropriate. And as far as we are concerned, everything is on the table in that regard because we are seeing extreme atrocities.
‘We are seeing maternity hospitals being bombed. We are seeing a location that was so clearly designated as being a shelter, a place of safety for children. We are seeing… millions of people being displaced, potentially permanently, in a war that was instigated, unprovoked, unjustified, against a whole population of people.’
France’s President Emmanuel Macron, a close U.S. ally who has also spoken frequently with Putin since the invasion, warned the West last month not to ‘escalate in words or actions’ – or risk hampering vital humanitarian efforts, including hopes of evacuating the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
His warning against an escalation in the conflict came during an interview with broadcaster France 3, in which the French leader said he is focused on trying to broker a peace deal between Kyiv and Moscow, and a diplomatic end to the war.
‘I wouldn’t use this type of wording because I continue to hold discussions with President Putin,’ Macron said on Sunday. ‘We want to stop the war that Russia has launched in Ukraine without escalation – that’s the objective.’
Richard Haass, the Council on Foreign Relations president, also spoke out about his concerns after the president’s off-the-cuff comment, saying that Biden had ‘just expanded US war aims, calling for regime change.’
Harris did say that humanitarian and security assistance were the ‘needs of the Ukrainian people’ and that Putin would face a consequence for the invasion
Harris also refused to ‘speculate about the future,’ but said the sanction are ‘intact’ but wouldn’t say if they would remain intact as long as Putin was in power
‘However desirable it may be, it is not within our power to accomplish-plus runs risk it will increase Putin’s inclination to see this as a fight to the finish, raising odds he will reject compromise, escalate, or both,’ wrote Haass.
‘Our interests are to end the war on terms Ukraine can accept & to discourage Russian escalation. Today’s call for regime change is inconsistent with these ends,’ he added.
Haass went on to tell Politico that a senior Biden official, possibly even Secretary of State Antony Blinken, needs to reach out to their Russian counterpart immediately and explain that Biden’s comment doesn’t reflect U.S. policy.
‘The fact that it was so off-script in some ways makes it worse,’ because it could be read as Biden’s genuine belief as opposed to his scripted words, Haass said.
Biden’s remark could also diminish Putin’s interest in compromise and increase his temptation to escalate in Ukraine, ‘because if he believes he has everything to lose then he’ll believe he has nothing to lose,’ Haass said.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk