Kamala Harris Talks Vaccines, School Reopenings — but Not Trump — in First Network Interview as Vice President

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Sean Neumann
·3 min read
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HKXwm494Uk

Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on the Today show Wednesday for her first network TV interview since taking office last month.

Harris, 56, spoke with anchor Savannah Guthrie about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, school reopenings and what her first historic month as vice president has been like, among other topics.

"It's still something," Harris told Guthrie, 49, who asked what the "strangest" or "most surprising thing" was that Harris had experienced during her young tenure as vice president. Harris the first woman, first Black person and first Asian person to hold the office.

She told Guthrie: "You know, my husband [Doug Emhoff] and I look at each other, and I say, you know, 'You're the second gentleman of the United States.' He says, 'You're the vice president of the United States.' We both kind of smile, then we get back to work."

And there's a lot of work to be done, the vice president said.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call From left: Kamala Harris, husband Doug Emhoff and Joe Biden

Harris reiterated a new Biden administration goal to have most schools fully reopened by late April, within the administration's first 100 days. The White House had given conflicting impressions of what it considered a successful reopening, but Harris said Wednesday the aim was five days a week.

President Joe Biden, 78, announced the updated goal during a CNN town hall event Tuesday night, while Harris shared more details Wednesday morning.

"Our goal is that, as many [kindergarten through eighth-grade] schools as possible will reopen within the first 100 days. Our goal is that it will be five days a week," Harris said. "So we have to work to achieve that goal. But our goal is the goal of parents."

Harris said "teachers should be a priority" when it comes to receiving vaccines but she deferred to individual states' decisions on when their citizens are eligible.

"Teachers are critical to our children's development," Harris added. "They should be able to teach in a safe place and expand the minds and the opportunities of our children. Teachers should be a priority, along with other front line workers."

ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Kamala Harris (left) is sworn in with her husband beside her at the Jan. 20 inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.

The vice president deflected on addressing former President Donald Trump's impeachment acquittal this past weekend.

"I'm focused on what we need to do to get relief to American families," she told Guthrie.

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Harris said it was "great" that the U.S. has developed vaccines to protect people against COVID-19 — something Trump has argued he didn't receive enough credit for, even as he downplayed the pandemic — "but we need to get it in the arms of all Americans."

Following a White House announcement Tuesday that the federal government will soon be sending states 13.5 million vaccines per week, Harris told Guthrie that "as quickly as we're producing it, we're getting it out."

The vice president said that by the summer, the government will have enough vaccines for every American.

"We expect that that will be done, in terms of having the available supply, by the end of July," she said. "And so we are very excited about that. We're excited about what we've been rolling out."