Vice President Kamala Harris wanted no part of explaining her remark late last week about the Biden administration taking “equity” into account when disbursing natural disaster relief after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida.
Fact-checkers at The Associated Press, Reuters and PolitiFact claimed her comment that disaster relief will be directed toward “communities of color” had been taken out of context and misrepresented online.
The massive storm hit land with 150 mph winds and a devastating storm surge, with the death toll now topping 80 and expected to climb further.
Harris was attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 2022 Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., along with President Biden, and a reporter asked her at one point to clarify what she meant about equity for hurricane relief.
But while the vice president appeared to acknowledge the reporter, she continued walking without comment.
"Can you clarify what you meant about ‘equity’ for hurricane relief?"
Kamala Harris refuses to answer. pic.twitter.com/abTJcjkJoJ
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 3, 2022
While speaking at the awards dinner over the weekend, Harris said: “So, as we gather here, I know that all of us also have in mind the people of Puerto Rico, Florida and South Carolina, and as President Biden has said, we will stand by you for as long as it takes. And I will reiterate, we will stand by you.”
On Friday, during a discussion with fellow traveler Priyanka Chopra at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, Harris suggested that race would be a factor in providing relief to Floridians hit hard by the storm, using the term “equity” which the left believes grants them carte blanch to discriminate against white people.
Fact-checkers claimed the vice president’s comments were missing context in reports.
“Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a DNC event about distributing equitable resources to help with the effects of climate change. She did not say that Hurricane Ian relief will be distributed based on race, as some claimed online,” the AP noted.
“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,” Harris had said. “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.”
She added, “And if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities and do that work.”
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., was quick to set Harris straight.
“This is wrong and dangerous. Aid is distributed based on need, period,” he tweeted. “FL is strong and ready to undertake the long journey of rebuilding. We are in this together, and won’t let politicians like @KamalaHarris use race to divide us as we work to recover our lives and communities.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, was also compelled to push back, tweeting, “Should be according to greatest need, not race or anything else.”
Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign, commented on the added strain Harris put on those impacted the worst by Hurricane Ian.
“This is false. [Harris’] rhetoric is causing undue panic and must be clarified,” Pushaw tweeted. “FEMA Individual Assistance is already available to all Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, regardless of race or background.”
Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
It is an outrageous statement!
— carol:ER/RN🇺🇸 (@farrellcob) October 3, 2022
They don’t have to answer to us pheasants 🤦♀️
— Mrs. Right 🇺🇸 (@me_infj) October 3, 2022
That moment when you wished you wouldn’t have read the teleprompter
— Madison (@Madisontx76) October 3, 2022
Nice Clown Music 🤡
— Michael T. Maloney (@mtmjr77) October 3, 2022
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include claims by fact-checkers that the vice president’s comments were missing context in reports.
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