Kamala Harris Can’t Stop Messing Up – To err is human – we all make mistakes. However, for those who opt for a career in politics, every word they utter today in public is recorded, shared, posted, tweeted, reshared, reposted, retweeted, and most importantly, securitized.
There was a time when politicians were remembered for their well-crafted sound bites, but today’s leaders are lambasted by their gaffes.
Unfortunately, some politicians also give their critics a bit more ammunition than others.
That is arguably true of Vice President Kamala Harris, who has become almost infamous for her “word salad” and failure at times to deliver a concise statement. To her critics, Harris comes off as out-of-touch, ill-informed, and even condescending.
In fairness to the VEEP, a problem is that she was often tasked with addressing issues that weren’t well-suited to her – while other times she was simply not up to speed on the topics she was discussing.
As a result, even The Daily Show has taken note of her gaffes.
Politicians need to be a jack-of-all-trades, be an encyclopedia for all topics, and recite facts on any subject. Of course, no politician is able to do any of the above without a team that prepares the individual. Harris often times seems to “wing it” and crashes to the ground as a result. She is hardly alone – but today, such comments take on a life of their own on social media.
Here are some of the more “memorable” and “unfortunate” gaffes she has made.
Kamala Harris Trying to Explain Artificial Intelligence
It was just last month that Vice President Harris likely wished she had ChatGPT on her phone to explain to her what was meant by artificial intelligence. It likely might have done better than she did.
“AI is kind of a fancy thing. First of all, it’s two letters. It means ‘Artificial Intelligence,” Harris told a roundtable gathering of labor and civil rights leaders in Washington, D.C. “It’s about machine learning, and so, the machine is taught — and part of the issue here is what information is going into the machine that will then determine — and we can predict then, if we think about what information is going in, what then will be produced in terms of decisions and opinions that may be made through that process.
AI is a hard subject to explain, and even some academics have struggled with it, but Harris certainly failed spectacularly.
It was just weeks into her tenure that VP Harris misspoke on a critical detail in an interview discussing mines in West Virginia. In discussing job creation she said that the U.S. needs to reclaim “abandoned land mines,” when she meant “abandoned mine lands.”
It was a slip of the tongue but hardly served as a good way to start the job! Unfortunately, it didn’t get better from that point.
Condescending to Rural Communities
It was in July 2021 that Harris made the dubious claim that voter identification laws were discriminatory toward rural Americans.
“I don’t think that we should underestimate what that [compromise on voter ID laws] could mean. Because in some people’s mind, that means you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t – there’s no Kinkos, there’s no OfficeMax near them.”
North vs. South Korea
While speaking at Korea’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Harris made an unfortunate slip of the tongue that suggested the United States was allied with North Korea.
“The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea,” Harris said, intending to refer to South Korea. “It is an alliance that is strong and enduring.”
It shouldn’t have been a huge deal – except for the fact that it was made literally on the border between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (RoK) with the former being North Korea and the latter being South Korea. She also failed to correct herself, which only made matters worse.
Kamala Harris and the Giggles
Though not an actual gaffe, the biggest issue for many of the vice president’s critics is her seemingly ill-placed giggling and laughs that she often used as a response to serious topics. She may have used it as a way to show that she wasn’t taking a hard question personally, but it also suggested she wasn’t taking the question seriously either.
Harris has gotten better, but largely because she has avoided one-on-one interviews – something that could be difficult as President Joe Biden and VP Harris will have to hit the campaign trail.
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.