Harris wishes "attacks from within" were handled as Americans and not through "partisan lens"

On "Meet the Press," VP Harris is asked to compare the attacks of 9/11 to recent attacks on Democracy

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published September 11, 2022 10:54AM (EDT)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the National Baptist Convention on September 08, 2022 in Houston, Texas. ( Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the National Baptist Convention on September 08, 2022 in Houston, Texas. ( Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Vice President Kamala Harris made an appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday morning and was asked by host Chuck Todd to compare the attacks of 9/11 to the "attacks from within" that threaten Democracy today.

"We're at the 21st marking, if you will, of the September 11th attacks," says Todd at the opening of the segment. "This was a foreign terrorist attacking our Democracy. We're now, as a nation, battling a threat from within. Is the threat equal or greater than what we faced after 9/11?"

"That's an interesting question," Harris says. "I have held many elected offices as district attorney, attorney general, senator and now vice president, and there's an oath that we always take which is to defend and uphold our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We don't compare the two in the oath, but we know they both can exist and we must defend against it."

Going on to compare her experience with the different dangers found in the two threats — meaning both domestic and foreign — Harris recalls times when republicans, democrats and independents entered a secure facility known as the SCIF, rolled up their sleeves, and addressed matters at hand not through a partisan lens, but as Americans fighting for a unified good "on common ground, with a common purpose, which is to defend our Nation against attacks."

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"It sounds like you think this threat is as great," Todd says, circling back to his initial question related to 9/11.

"I think it is a threat and I think it's very dangerous," Harris says. "I think it is very harmful and it makes us weaker. I have met with and I've had conversations with over 100 foreign heads of state . . . and when we as the United States walk into those rooms around the world, we have had the honor and privilege, historically, of holding our head up as a defender and an example of a great Democracy. And that then gives us the legitimacy and the standing to talk about the importance of Democratic principals; rule of law, human rights. One of the things that comes with that privilege is that we hold ourselves out to be a role model, which means the rest of the world, like any role model, watches what we do to see if it matches up with what we say."

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By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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9/11 Kamala Harris