Vice President Harris expressed concern over threats to voting rights and democracy in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” aired on Sunday, during which she emphasized the importance of getting out the vote for the midterm elections.
“Everything is on the line in these elections in just less than two months,” she said while discussing voting rights.
Harris stressed that the issue is high on the Biden administration’s agenda and that the president will “not let the filibuster get in the way” of signing bills into law that make it easier to vote.
“Because what is happening in our country … they are passing laws making it more difficult for people to vote,” said Harris.
Harris specified President Biden’s support for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. Both bills have been approved by the House but blocked in the Senate by Republican filibusters.
The vice president said that after Biden was elected in 2020 “you almost saw, almost immediately, so-called extremist leaders around the country starting to pass laws making it more difficult for people to vote.”
“I think that scared some people that the American people were voting in such large numbers,” she said, referencing the record voter turnout that year.
Harris also addressed election deniers running for secretary of state around the country and some lawmakers’ refusal to condemn the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, voicing concern over how the country is handling “attacks from within.”
Asked by anchor Chuck Todd whether current internal threats to American democracy are “equal or greater than what we faced after 9/11,” Harris said that the two are “different.”
“Each are dangerous and extremely harmful, but they’re different,” said Harris.
She continued: “When I think about what we have been seeing in terms of the attacks from within, I wish that we would approach it … as Americans, instead of through some partisan lens.”
Harris claimed that threats to democracy from within the U.S. affect relations with other nations by indicating that America is not “valuing what they talk about.”
“I’m very concerned about it. Because there are so many issues going on in the world that I think require, at least how we as Americans have traditionally thought about what is right, what is good, what should be fought for, what should be human ideals, and certainly the ideals of democracies,” said Harris.
“And I think that through the process of what we’ve been through, we’re starting to allow people to call into question our commitment to those principles.”
Todd also asked the vice president how she might deal with disputes about the outcome of the 2024 presidential election, saying, “Have you thought about how you might handle a certification that did not reflect the outcome of the popular vote in the state?”
“I haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Harris told him.
“I have to believe that the United States Congress and all the people who have taken an oath to defend our democracy will ensure and will stand up against anyone who tries to destroy or circumvent the rules and the practices and procedures that we’ve had in place that have allowed a peaceful transfer of power since the inception of our nation and the founding of our nation,” she said.
Todd also broached the topic of a potential prosecution of former President Trump, who is currently facing multiple investigations, to which Harris responded that she “wouldn’t dare tell the Department of Justice what to do.”
Harris appeared to push back against the argument, raised by Todd, that it would be “too divisive for the country to prosecute a former president,” however.
She said that “the unthinkable has happened” before in U.S. history in situations “where there has been a call for justice, and justice has been served.”
“And I think that’s potentially going to always be the case in our country that people are going to demand justice and they rightly do,” she said.