Vice President Kamala Harris became irritated in an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on Thursday regarding remarks involving President Joe Biden during a Wednesday press conference.
Harris appeared on the TODAY show on the one-year anniversary of Biden’s inauguration and seemed to struggle to answer basic questions about what the administration has accomplished thus far.
In particular, she was confronted about Democrats’ voting overhaul bill failing in the Senate, Democrats failing to nuke the Senate filibuster, Biden’s cratering approval ratings, Russian aggression, and the administration’s handling of the pandemic.
But the most tense moment came during an exchange after Guthrie asked Harris about comments Biden made when he appeared to suggest the 2022 midterm elections may not be “free and fair” if Congress doesn’t pass the Democrats two election overhaul bills — elections that Republicans are already projected to dominate, according to recent polling.
The exchange occurred around the 5:25 mark of the video below:
“If Russia takes aggressive action, it will be met with severe costs.”
Watch ’s full interview with Kamala Harris on Russia-Ukraine tensions and voting rights legislation.
Here is the relevant portion of the transcript:
GUTHRIE: “Let’s talk about another comment the president made. He openly cast doubt on whether the 2022 midterm elections would be legitimate. He said it all depends, which is astonishing to hear a president question whether our elections will be legitimate. We’ve heard it before, but not from this president. Is he really concerned that we may not have fair and free elections?”
HARRIS: “The president has been consistent on this issue and the issue at hand, the issue — I was there last night in the chamber of the Senate and the issue is that there are two bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, that have been the solution that has been offered to address the fact that around our country states have put in place laws that are purposely making it more difficult for the American people to vote. Laws which will be felt by at least 55 million Americans regardless of their party affiliation, their race, their gender or their geographic location —” [crosstalk]
GUTHRIE: “Well, to the point, because those bills were debated — the bills were debated and they didn’t pass —”
HARRIS: “If I may finish — if I may finish —” [crosstalk]
GUTHRIE: “But the specific question, if you don’t mind, does he think now that these bills haven’t been passed that the ’22 midterms won’t be legitimate or fair or free?”
HARRIS: “Let’s not conflate issues. So, what we are looking at and the topic of so much debate last night was that we as America cannot afford to allow this blatant erosion of our democracy, and in particular, the right of all Americans who are eligible to vote to have access to the ballot unfettered. That is the topic of the conversation. And let’s not be distracted by the political gamesmanship when what is truly at stake are issues like whether Americans with disability have the opportunity to vote by mail, whether a single parent has the opportunity with three kids in the backseat to vote by dropping off their ballot in a dropbox instead of having to stand in line with those three kids for hours. These are the issues that are at stake.” [crosstalk]
GUTHRIE: “And the president laid a lot of —”
HARRIS: “And they are significant and pivotal issues in terms of our democracy. We had an extensive conversation about foreign policy, Savannah.”