Vice President Kamala Harris was seen ignoring what appears to be a rogue reporter at a gala over the weekend after he asked her to clarify her comments on “equity” affecting the Biden administration’s distribution of Hurricane Ian relief.
The video, released Saturday evening by the Republican National Committee’s research arm, appears to have been taken on Saturday evening as Harris was exiting the 51st annual Phoenix Awards, a dinner hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Both she and President Joe Biden spoke at the event, where they touted their administration’s achievements for black people and repeatedly referenced “equity” playing a role in their work. The event came one day after Harris sparked outrage from Republicans over her pledge that the Biden White House would take “equity” into account when divvying up disaster aid.
Harris made eye contact with the man filming the Saturday evening interaction before looking away as he began to ask: “Vice President, can you clarify what you meant about equity for hurricane relief?”
The vice president declined to acknowledge the person, instead continuing to walk away.
“Can you clarify what you meant about ‘equity’ for hurricane relief?”
Harris made the comments in question while taking part in an event with actress and activist Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum.
“It is our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions, and impacted by issues that are not of their own making,” the vice president told the movie star. “And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place.”
“And if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities and do that work,” she continued.
Harris faced immediate pushback for the comments, which came the same day that the White House said it was working with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide aid to those affected by the storm, which has caused death and destruction across the state.
One notable objector to Harris’s comments was DeSantis’s reelection campaign, whose rapid response director tweeted Saturday: “This is false. [Harris’s] rhetoric is causing undue panic and must be clarified. FEMA Individual Assistance is already available to all Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, regardless of race or background.”