In a lengthy interview with the “Late Show’s” Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris called it “inhumane” for states to pass pro-life laws; she touted U.S. boldness and leadership on climate change; she called Joe Biden a “true partner” and an “extraordinary leader”; and at the very end of the interview, she explained why she loves the United States.
“What is it that is — to coin a phrase — great about America and that kindles your love for it?” Colbert asked Harris.
“There’s so much. There’s so — there’s so much,” Harris said:
“And you’re right, and I have the blessing and privilege of traveling all over our country. And in particular, in these years where we have witnessed so-called leaders attempting to create division between us.
“I meet people who are just — people who are the ones who are the most optimistic about what is possible, who believe in each other, who understand that we all have so much more in common than what separates us.
“People who — you know, when people are out there protesting, you know what? God love them because we have a nation that says that we will allow freedom of speech, freedom of association. And for the most part, we all stand for that, even if we agree to disagree.
“I look at who we are, we believe in freedom and liberty as Americans. And we fight for it. Now, there will be those of the extremes, but the vast majority of us, I think, take great pride in understanding that our democracy will only be as strong as our willingness, each one of us, to fight for it. And when I travel our country, that’s what I see. That’s what I see.”
State pro-life laws are ‘inhumane,’ ‘height of irresponsibility’
Although she laughed frequently during the interview, Harris turned very serious on the issue of “reproductive rights.”
“I think it’s the height of irresponsibility and in fact, in many cases, inhumane what has been happening in states around our country who are passing laws that would criminalize health care providers — literally provide for jail time for doctors and nurses who provide reproductive health care, that would punish women for simply seeking the kind of care that they choose that they need.
“We are looking at a situation where, and again, as a former prosecutor, there would be no exception for rape or incest? I mean, let’s speak clearly about what this means.
“If after a person has gone through a most vicious violation of their body, then the government will tell them, and after that, you also will not have autonomy and be able to make decisions about your body as it relates to the decision you make next. After having survived such a violative act.
“It is, and let’s be clear on this issue. One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do with her body.”
Biden is ‘an extraordinary leader’
Colbert asked Harris to described her daily role as vice president.
“I have the great privilege of serving with Joe Biden, who is the president of the United States,” Harris said.
She said Biden does understand what it’s like to be vice president, because he was one:
“He really is a true partner and he understands the job. And remember, we came in during the height of the pandemic. And so, so much of the work was about okay we’ve got to cover a lot of bases and let’s figure out how between us we can do it.
“But he is an extraordinary leader and I wish that people could see what I see, because there’s only one person who sits behind that resolute desk. And the decisions that that person has to make are the decisions that nobody else in the country can make. And he’s an extraordinary leader. He is. He is.”
Harris noted that as vice president, she meets hundreds of world leaders and recently attended a security conference in Germany, where — she said — her career as a prosecutor came in handy when she recently accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity.
“As a former prosecutor, I understand the significance of reviewing and looking at the evidence and comparing it to the law,” she said, pointing to Russian atrocities in Ukraine.
“So that’s one of my most recent roles as vice president of the United States, to stand before our allies and partners around the world, in particular in the context of our transatlantic relationships and to not only state our position, but to encourage others to stand with us, as we have been doing since February 24th of last year during the — and during this year of this unprovoked attack.”
Harris told Colbert that the United States is “an example” to other nations about making progress on climate change. “I would say that we have been quite bold in terms of the advances that we are making thus far. But we have more to do,” she said:
“But look at, for example, what we’re doing around electric vehicles. We have just passed legislation that means that people will get rebates, not only if you buy a new electric vehicle, but more importantly, rebates on used electric vehicles.
“We are investing in the manufacturing of electric buses, electric school buses, and we are partnering with the apprenticeship programs — IBEW and others — that are training our workforce to do some of the most advanced work that’s being done. So there’s a lot of good work happening.”
Colbert, noting that Harris was greeted by climate protesters outside his studio, brought up President Biden’s approval of the Willow oil project in Alaska, saying that “people have gotten quite upset about it.”
“I think that the concerns are based on what we should all be concerned about,” Harris said. “But the solutions have to be and include what we are doing in terms of going forward and in terms of investments.”