Vice president-elect Kamala Harris sat down with Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts for her first solo interview since the election, and while there wasn’t a whole lot of news to come out of the sit-down, there was a focus on the history that will be made.
Harris, California’s junior senator since 2017, will be the first woman to ascend to the vice presidency, a fact that gets overshadowed at times in the post-election focus on President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede.
Asked what she will be thinking about when she takes the oath of office, Harris said. “I will be thinking about my mother.”
“I feel a very big sense of responsibility,” Harris said. “As I said recently, that I will be the first, but I will not be the last. I was raised by a mother who said that to me all the time. ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things. Make sure you are not the last.”
Harris’ husband, entertainment attorney Doug Emhoff, will also be the first second gentleman.
“He has a sweatshirt that says ‘Girl Dad’ that is almost in tatters,” Harris said. “He is very proud to be the father of a daughter, and of course proud to be the father of a son. But he is aware that we still have so much work to do to remind our children of every gender that they should not be confined by the limited perception that some may have of who they are and what they can be.”
The interview was done on the campus of Harris’ alma mater Howard University, a short distance from the White House, and Harris said that she really feels “quite emotional about it.”
Harris weighed in on the controversy over a Wall Street Journal op ed, in which Joseph Epstein mocked incoming First Lady Jill Biden’s use of “Dr.” in her title because she has a doctorate in education, not medicine. “I was deeply disappointed that in 2020, that kind of approach would be given any legitimacy,” Harris said. “Let’s be clear about it. She worked hard. She raised her kids. She went to night school. She got degrees. She earned everything she has. That is the American way, that is the American spirit.”
Harris said that Monday’s Electoral College vote, which affirmed the Biden-Harris victory over Trump-Pence, was a moment where she thought, “It started to really feel real. I was watching it as the states were coming in with my husband. And we were watching it, and he looked at me, he said, ‘See? It’s happening. It’s really happening.”
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Biden and Harris on their victory, the first time he had recognized them as the winners, and he later talked to the president-elect. McConnell earlier had said that he wanted to let Trump pursue election challenges, but his campaign has lost dozens of times in court.
“Our democracy is stronger than any one man or woman,” Harris said “It is about the people. And the people spoke.”
ABC News ran a clip of the interview on World News Tonight on Tuesday that gave a hint of the frustration that Harris had an Republican intransigence. She said that she applauds McConnell for talking to Biden, but said, “It would have been better if it were earlier, but it happened, and that is what is most important. But let’s move forward, and where we can find common purpose and common ground, let’s do that. Let that be our priority.”
Harris criticized Congress for not moving sooner on another Covid-19 relief package, saying that lawmakers live in a “bubble” where they are not seeing people who face evictions or small businesses struggling not to go belly-up. There are reports, however, that lawmakers are making progress on a package, with the aim of passing it before Christmas.
“I don’t understand the hesitation. People are suffering,” she said.
Harris avoided directly criticizing California Governor Gavin Newsom. Roberts asked her about strict guidelines that have been put in place by elected officials, “but yet they don’t follow through.” Newsom apologized after it was revealed that he had attended a gathering at a posh restaurant.
“What kind of message does that send to the American public?” Roberts asked.
Harris said, “I think we all have to understand that right now, this is a moment for everyone to sacrifice, and if we going to get through this together, we all have to do it,” Harris said.
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