At this year’s Democratic National Committee winter meeting, Vice President Kamala Harris gave a speech that caused some confusion. She made said in her remarks that “The United States stands firmly with the Ukrainian people in defense of the NATO alliance.”
A nuanced interpretation of what she said would be that it is in NATO’s best interest to stand with the Ukranian people, as the country provides a buffer to Poland, a NATO member. Some pundits commented that, read literally, the statement suggests that Ukraine is part of the NATO alliance.
The White House cleaned up the mistake by adding the word ‘and’ in the official transcript. The relevant part of the remarks read “The United States stands firmly with the Ukranian people [and] in defense of the NATO alliance.” That should have ended the matter, but Vice President Harris made the same mistake again in a Tweet using the exact same language as the speech at the DNC winter meeting.
When speaking from a podium with prepared remarks, it is easy to see how the speaker could omit one word and completely change the meaning of a sentence unintentionally. What is more difficult to understand is how the same mistake could be made in a Tweet within days of the first embarrassing error.
The tweet in question was deleted and replaced with a tweet correcting the language in the exact same manner as before.
The vice president’s spokesperson claimed that the Twitter account in question is controlled by the DNC, not Harris. While it is not surprising that the Vice President does not directly put out tweets, it is surprising that the responsibility for the account is delegated out of her office completely. The DNC is a political organization dedicated to the interests of one party. The vice president’s office is supposed to represent all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.
The Vice President speaks on behalf of the United States and Ms. Harris has had her share of gaffes in the brief time she has been on the job. It would make sense, going forward, for her and her staff to focus on cleaning up the messaging so amateur mistakes do not continue to happen — or perhaps, she should learn what countries are actually in the NATO alliance.