I don’t generally laugh when Donald Trump tries to smear his political opponents, but a week ago, the former president referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as “North Korea Sympathizer Kamala Harris” — and that was unintentionally funny.
It’s difficult to say for sure why he used the phrase — with Trump, no one can say with confidence how he comes up with stuff like this — but Harris visited the Korean peninsula last week and after a trip to the demilitarized zone, she accidentally referred to the U.S. alliance “with the Republic of North Korea.”
She obviously meant to reference the Republic of Korea — the formal name of South Korea — but briefly misspoke. No sane person would conclude from this slip that the Democrat should be seen as a “North Korea sympathizer.”
If, on the other hand, anyone is looking for someone who’s been a bit too submissive toward the nuclear-armed dictatorship, I might recommend reviewing the record of the former American president who publicly professed his love for Kim Jong Un and gave the North Korean leader much of what he wanted in exchange for nothing.
A few days later, however, Sen. Rick Scott’s criticisms of Harris were far less amusing. On CBS’ “Face the Nation” this week, the Florida Republican, while discussing recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ian, told viewers:
“I think what we got to do is we got to bring everybody together. I’d also say that what Vice President Harris said yesterday, or the day before yesterday, that, you know, if you have a different skin color, you’re going to get relief faster, that’s not helpful.”
In context, host Margaret Brennan had asked for the senator’s response about radical rhetoric from Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Instead of answering the question, Scott responded by targeting Harris, peddling a lie that has become common in GOP circles in recent days.
When Brennan reminded the Floridian that he was wrong about what Harris said, Scott replied: “That’s exactly what she meant.”
No, it’s not. The summary from FactCheck.org set the record straight:
In a “fireside chat” with actress Priyanka Chopra, Vice President Kamala Harris said the Biden administration is “thinking about the families in Florida [and] in Puerto Rico” and “what we need to do to help them in terms of an immediate response and aid.” But she also talked about the long-term need to ensure equitable treatment of “our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme [climate] conditions ... that are not of their own making.”
As anyone who heard the comments knows, the vice president did not say — and did not mean to say — that skin color should dictate the speed with which storm victims receive disaster aid.
What’s more, Harris’ actual comments were entirely accurate: Many communities, in the United States and around the world, that are already struggling are positioned to feel the brunt of the climate crisis. It’s a serious issue that deserves policymakers’ attention.
What we’re instead seeing is a Republican Senate leader try to smear the vice president for saying something true about an issue he prefers to ignore.