VP Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton emphasize fighting ‘extremism,’ ‘attacks from within’ in Sunday interviews

By | September 12, 2022

Vice President Kamala Harris and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down for interviews with NBC and CNN on Sunday and discussed the importance of fighting “extremism” and “attacks from within.” 

NBC’s Chuck Todd interviewed the vice president in Houston, Texas, and asked Harris if the threat that America faced after the events on September 11, 2001, were equal to or greater than the “threats” President Biden has been talking about coming from “within.” She said foreign and domestic threats were very different but that “each are dangerous.” 

“When I think about what we’ve been seeing as far as the attacks from within, I wish that we would approach it the same way instead through some partisan lens,” Harris told Todd. “I think that it is a threat, and I think that it is very dangerous, and it makes us weaker.” 

“The rest of the world — like to any role model — watches what we do to see if it matches up with what we say,” Harris continued. “So, we look at the fact that there are 11 people right now running for Secretary of State — the keepers of the integrity of the voting system in their state — who are election deniers.”

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She said “election deniers” and those who refuse to condemn Jan. 6 sends a signal to other countries and makes people question whether or not America is standing by their values.

Biden has ramped up his anti-“MAGA Republican” language in multiple recent speeches. He argued that democracy is “under assault” during a campaign-style speech in Philadelphia. 

Harris also defended Biden’s recent “semi-fascism” comments. She said the president has spent his entire career “working across the aisle.”

“But there are moments in time when we have to also agree – all good people who care about our country – that there are those who right now are vividly not defending our democracy,” the vice president said. “And I think we want that our commander in chief, that the president of the United States, will speak up and raise the alarm about what this means to our strength and our future, much less our integrity.”

Harris didn’t answer questions from the NBC host about whether Democrats boosting Republicans they deem unelectable or too extreme in primary elections was contradicting the administration’s messaging. She described the Supreme Court as an “activist court” because of their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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CNN’s Dana Bash posed a similar question to Clinton and asked if there were still lessons to be learned from 9/11. 

“We have also, I think, been reminded about how important it is to try to deal with extremism of any kind, especially when it uses violence to try to achieve political and ideological goals,” Clinton responded. “So I’m one who thinks that there are lessons still to be learned from what happened to us on 9/11 that we should be very aware of during this time in our country and the world’s history.”

Clinton also said she hoped Americans and elected officials would rally around Biden the same way many rallied around former president George W. Bush after 9/11. 

“Well, I hope that it will be, and I give President Biden a lot of credit for trying to continue to reach out to people while still sounding the alarm about the threats to our democracy,” Clinton said. 

The former first lady recalled an interaction she had with Bush after the 9/11 attacks. She told Bush she needed $20 billion to help rebuild New York, and she told Bash that Bush never “wavered” on his promise.

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“And I wish now that people would come together behind President Biden, who is doing an amazing job trying to rebuild our manufacturing sector, trying to deal with climate change, expand health care, all the other things, including trying to do something about gun violence that the vast majority of Americans approve of,” Clinton continued. 

“So we are in a funny position, Dana, because there’s a small, but very vocal, very powerful, very determined minority who wants to impose their views on all the rest of us,” she told Bash. “And it’s time for everybody, regardless of party, to say, ‘No, that’s not who we are as America.’”

The former secretary of state was also asked later on about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s, D-N.Y., interview with GQ. Ocasio-Cortez told GQ that she has a hard time believing she would become president because so many people in this country “hate women.”

Bash said Clinton got closer than anyone and asked for her thoughts. 

“Well, I think it’s sad that we have so many people who seem to either resent or oppose women in the public arena, whether it’s politics in government or the media or anything else. That’s something we have to keep standing up against and speaking out against,” Clinton said. “And I think that a woman will become our president at some point. I certainly understand all of the obstacles you have to overcome to get there. But I continue to tell young women and girls that if they feel motivated to pursue political office, they should do so with their eyes wide open about how hard it is. And, unfortunately, social media, with all of its misogyny, has made it more difficult. But we can’t be bullied into silence or giving up on our own dreams. We have to continue to pursue them and encourage others to do the same.” 

“My experience here has given me a front row seat to how deeply and unconsciously, as well as consciously, so many people in this country hate women. And they hate women of color. People ask me questions about the future. And realistically, I can’t even tell you if I’m going to be alive in September. And that weighs very heavily on me,” Ocasio-Cortez told GQ when asked about a potential bid for the presidency.