Kamala Harris said that Ron DeSantis doesn’t understand the complexity of the war in Ukraine and its impact on U.S. sovereignty in a late-night interview where she was caught off-guard when asked to detail the true role of the vice president.
President Joe Biden‘s No. 2 laughed it off when The Late Show host Stephen Colbert asked her if being vice president was like an episode of Veep, to which Harris grinned and said parts of the sitcom are ‘actually quite accurate.’
Her attack on DeSantis during the show Wednesday evening came after the Florida governor called the war in Ukraine a ‘territorial dispute’ and joined others who bashed Biden for sending billions in aid.
Harris, who Biden says has every intention of being on his ticket if he runs for reelection in 2024, is visiting Iowa on Thursday for her first trip to the early primary contest state since taking office.
Vice President Kamala Harris said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t ‘understand the issues’ in Ukraine, after he called the war a ‘territorial dispute’ in which the U.S. should not be involved
DeSantis said Ukraine’s war with Russia is not a ‘vital national security interest’ for the U.S. and is joining Republican lawmakers who have slammed the Biden administration for writing a ‘blank check’ to Kyiv
‘What do you make of someone like Governor DeSantis… saying that this is not in America’s strategic interest to side with the Ukrainians and offer them the material aid they need to defend themselves against an invading power?’ Colbert asked Harris.
‘When you have had the experience of meeting and understanding the significance, again, of international rules and norms – and the importance of the United States of America standing firm and clear about the significance of sovereignty and territorial integrity, the significance of standing firm against any nation that would try to take by force another nation,’ explained Harris.
She went on to list her meetings with prime ministers, presidents, kings and other world leaders, claiming it has given her the perspective to understand the importance of U.S. involvement internationally.
‘If you really understand the issues, you probably wouldn’t make statements like that,’ she said of DeSantis.
Harris then pursed her lips together and cocked her head to one side at Colbert before the crowd erupted in an obligatory cheer – a signature of late-night television.
DeSantis has not yet announced a bid for the GOP 2024 primary election, but is expected to join the race in the coming months.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry invited DeSantis to visit the war-torn nation after he dismissed the conflict with Russia as a ‘territorial dispute’ and demanded the federal government focus-in on domestic issues instead.
The latest rebuke of massive financial and arms support for Ukraine comes as Republicans in Congress are demanding more scrutiny for the $113 billion in aid sent to Kyiv last year.
VP Kamala Harris sat down for an interview with Late Night host Stephen Colbert where she was caught off-guard with a question about her roles and responsibilities as vice president – laughing hysterically when she compared ‘bits’ of the HBO sitcom Veep to being like her day-to-day in the executive branch
Harris said her duties include things like attending last month’s Munich Security Conference, where she declared Russia committed ‘crimes against humanity’ in its invasion of Ukraine
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said Ukraine should not get a ‘blank check’ from the U.S.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko criticized DeSantis’s comments made during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson earlier this week.
‘We are sure that as a former military officer deployed to a combat zone, Governor Ron DeSantis knows the difference between a ‘dispute’ and war,’ Nikolenko said in a Tuesday evening tweet.
‘We invite him to visit Ukraine to get a deeper understanding of Russia’s full-scale invasion and the threats it poses to U.S. interests.’
DeSantis said Ukraine’s war with Russia is not a ‘vital national security interest’ for the U.S.
While studying law at Harvard, DeSantis was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to its legal arm, the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.
His Navy service included working with detainees held in Guantanamo Bay and as a legal adviser for elite Navy Seals deployed to Iraq.
In another sign that he will soon join the 2024 presidential race, DeSantis visited Iowa last week for the first time since becoming a potential White House contender.
Harris, who Biden says will be on his presidential reelection ticket, is also jetting off to Iowa on Thursday for an abortion rights event nearly a year after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
This trip is her first visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state since taking office as VP.
Colbert, during a friendly interview Wednesday evening, appeared to blindside Harris when he asked about her role in the executive branch.
‘I know you love Veep,’ Harris said when pointing her finger at Colbert after acknowledging that her life in Washington, D.C. is similar to what is depicted in the HBO comedy series.
‘I do – I love Veep. Is it accurate?’ Colbert asked.
‘There are bits of it that are actually quite accurate,’ Harris grinned.
She shared an anecdote about a real-life Veep moment when one of her staffers forgot to open the fireplace flue when lighting a fire and accidentally filled her office with smoke.
Colbert asked, ‘what’s the actual role on a daily basis?’ noting that Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character Selina Meyers is frustrated in the show by the ‘vague duties of the role.’
‘Does that ring true?’ Colbert asked.
‘Well, I have the great privilege of serving with Joe Biden, who is the President of the United States… and was vice president,’ Harris dodged, noting that Biden understands what it’s like to be VP and is a ‘true partner’ and ‘extraordinary leader.’
‘That’s an excellent answer and, uh, the question was what’s the job of the vice president,’ Colbert grinned.
Harris burst out in laughter, which she frequently does in awkward interview exchanges and press conferences, leading to some viral moments and criticism.
The VP cited a recent ‘example’ of her duties – attending last month’s Munich Security Conference, where she declared Russia committed ‘crimes against humanity’ in its invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine invited Ron DeSantis to visit the war-torn nation to get a deeper understanding of the threat it poses to U.S. interests
Ukraine foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko levied the invite on Twitter
DeSantis’ position on American assistance to Ukraine distinguishes him from several high-profile Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said aid to Ukraine should be the ‘number one priority’ for the U.S. in December.
Former Vice President Mike Pence recently poked at the Florida governor and said there was no room for ‘Putin apologists’ in the GOP. ‘We support those who fight our enemies on their shores, so we will not have to fight them ourselves.’
‘While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,’ DeSantis said.
The Florida governor continued: ‘The Biden administration’s virtual ‘blank check’ funding of this conflict for ‘as long as it takes,’ without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges.’
He added that the growing threat from China and the crisis at the southern border should take priority.
His positions were revealed on a day when details emerged of the Pentagon’s $842 million budget request, amid a push to refill supplies after arming Ukraine and reinforcing NATO’s eastern flank.
The stark language drew notice from Carlson, the top-rated cable host, during his broadcast. ‘Until tonight, no one could really say with precision, where [DeSantis] stood on the war in Ukraine, which is arguably the most important topic in the world. And now we know DeSantis is adamantly opposed to the position that most Republicans in Washington have taken on Ukraine. DeSantis is not a neocon. Who knew?’
Tucker Carlson asked several presumed White House contenders, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis what he thought about the massive U.S. aid sent to Ukraine in its war with Russia
Nikolenko said DeSantis should ‘know the difference between a dispute and war’ as a former officer with the U.S. Navy
The statement comes as the Republican presidential field continues to take shape, with former President Donald Trump continuing to be the poll leader – Carlson called him the frontrunner.
It has been over a year since Russia launched its brutal invasion, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues calling for the U.S. and allies to provide more long-range weapons and ammunition, describing Ukraine’s war as protecting all of Europe from Russian aggression.
DeSantis, a former House member who served in the Navy Reserve as a military lawyer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, came out explicitly against two of Zelensky’s requests.
‘The U.S. should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders. F-16s and long-range missiles should therefore be off the table,’ he told Carlson. ‘These moves would risk explicitly drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. That risk is unacceptable.’
Carlson also read the responses from Trump – a week after internal emails were released concerning a Dominion lawsuit against Fox – had him calling Trump a ‘demonic force’ and writing: ‘I hate him passionately.’
DeSantis’ position puts him near Trump on skepticism of Ukraine. The former president has long called the country ‘corrupt,’ and has repeatedly touted his ability to ‘get along’ with Russia.
At an event in Iowa on Monday night, Trump said only he can prevent World War Three from breaking out.
The Biden administration and Congress have set aside a staggering $113 billion in American taxpayer funds for Ukraine in a conflict that has no end in sight
DeSantis came out against providing F-16s and longer-range missiles to Ukraine, even as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleads for more and better weaponry
Carlson also read a statement from Trump, who said he would negotiate an end to the war. It comes after the host in internal emails revealed in a Dominion lawsuit said he ‘despised’ Trump
In a statement, Trump says Russia wouldn’t have invaded on his watch and points to the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan executed under Biden after his administration set a deadline with the Taliban. He also insisted that European allies should pay the U.S. ‘retroactively’ for the difference between what the U.S. and Europe spend to aid Ukraine.
In a Truth social post, Trump vowed to negotiate for peace. ‘The U.S. would ‘tell Ukraine that there will be little more money coming from us, UNLESS RUSSIA CONTINUES TO PROSECUTE THE WAR. The President must meet with each side, then both sides together, and quickly work out a deal. This can be easily done if conducted by the right President. Both sides are weary and ready to make a deal. The meetings should start immediately, there is no time to spare. The death and destruction MUST END NOW!’
A Pew poll at the end of January revealed declining support for supporting the war by Republicans.
It found 40 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think the U.S. is providing too much help, up from 32 percent in the fall. The number was just 9 percent last March, immediately after Russia invaded.