Vice President Kamala Harris dodged the media for roughly a full a year after a “disastrous” 2021 interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt in which she struggled to explain a strategy for securing the border and infamously joked she hadn’t been to Europe, either, according to The New York Times.
The Times published a Monday story headlined, “Kamala Harris Is Trying to Define Her Vice Presidency. Even Her Allies Are Tired of Waiting,” that put a spotlight on the vice president’s troubles. The Gray Lady cited “White House officials” who said Harris is fearful of another public debacle after her sit-down with Holt generated widespread backlash.
“After her disastrous interview with Lester Holt of NBC News in June 2021, in which she struggled to articulate the administration’s strategy for securing the border, White House officials — including some in her own office — noted that she all but went into a bunker for about a year, avoiding many interviews out of what aides said was a fear of making mistakes and disappointing Mr. Biden,” the Times reported.
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The White House and the vice president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In June 2021, Harris falsely claimed that “we’ve been to the border” when grilled by Holt. At the time, the Biden administration had been criticized by Republicans for not making the trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, so the NBC News anchor asked whether she had any plans to do so.
“I – at some point – you know – we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border,” Harris replied. “So this whole – this whole – this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”
Harris was again pressed, with Holt reminding the vice president that she, herself, has not been to the border while in office.
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“I – and I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t – I don’t understand the point that you’re making,” Harris said, adding “I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”
“Listen, I care about what’s happening at the border,” Harris said, noting that she had been “in Guatemala because my focus is dealing with the root causes of migration.”
“There may be some who think that that is not important, but it is my firm belief that if we care about what’s happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address them,” she added. “And so that’s what I’m doing.”
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Since the NBC News debacle, Harris’ televised interviews have been scant.
The vice president appeared on “The View,” in Sept. 2021 in an appearance that was cut short due to a COVID outbreak in the studio, spoke with a middle school student on YouTube the following month and sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos the month after that. She wrapped up 2021 with appearances on Comedy Central’s “Tha God’s Honest Truth” with Charlamagne Tha God and appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation.”
In 2022, Harris only appeared on television interviews a handful of times throughout the entire year. She spoke to PBS’ Just Woodruff, NBC’s Craig Melvin, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, MSNBC’s Joy Reid and appeared on a local ABC affiliate in Philadelphia. All of these occurred in the first four months of 2022 and Harris failed to conduct major televised interviews for the final eight months of the year.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.