In her first national, extended interview since becoming vice president, Kamala Harris sat down with Errin Haines, editor-at-large at The 19th* to discuss her focus on an equitable response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Harris spoke Thursday with a sense of urgency about the need to pass the American Rescue Plan, saying she has been encouraged by outreach from Republican lawmakers to discuss the package:
“We’re reaching out to everyone because we want to believe that real leaders in this moment of crisis will have the capacity to see the need, work together and put aside ideological and partisan gamesmanship…That’s what we’re counting on. We’re going to push ahead, but we are working in good faith with an assumption and a belief that others will, too.”
As a Black woman who is now the second most powerful person in the country, Harris acknowledged that she feels “a great sense of responsibility” around the pandemic response, as Black people disproportionately dying from coronavirus and have been hit hard economically as the country has been on lockdown.
“When I took that oath on January 20, there were a whole lot of people standing on that stage with me,” she said. “You may not have seen them, but they were in my heart, they were in my mind … I feel the weight of the responsibility that comes with that. You have to use your voice in that moment … for so many who otherwise can’t be in the room in that moment. That’s how I feel about everything that we are discussing, every challenge we are facing.”