On Saturday’s PoliticsNation, Al Sharpton joined his fellow hacks in the liberal media by having Vice President Kamala Harris on his show for an interview filled with softball questions and shameless praise for the Vice President. In a pre-recorded interview that felt like a conversation between two old friends, Sharpton celebrated Harris by telling her that she has “always been straight and inspiring” and asked her softballs such as “what does Black History Month mean to you?”
Sharpton set the tone for the interview by introducing Harris as “the honorable Kamala Harris” and gushing over how “historic” Harris is:
I asked the nation's first black and brown Vice President about all of this and, of course, the history she sees in the mirror everyday, one month after her historic inauguration...Of course, without exaggerating, the Vice President still has much, much history left to make. And so with that, there's where we started in our conversation, legacy. I am honored on this Black History Month special edition of PoliticsNation to have with us the Vice President of the United States, the honorable, Kamala Harris. Madam Vice President, first of all, thank you for being with us for this.
Sharpton, who laughably described himself earlier this year as “nonpartisan,” began the interview with the first of many softball questions which enabled Harris to spout meaningless platitudes, asking Harris, “what does Black History Month mean to you?” Harris smacked the softball out of the park by proclaiming that Black History Month “means everything to” her.
Sharpton, despite being an activist for African Americans, did not find it appropriate to ask Harris about her condemnation of Joe Biden for working with segregationists and his friendly relationship with infamous racist George Wallace in the 1970’s and 80’s. Of course, Sharpton is more concerned with partisanship than principles, as he excused Biden’s racist past last year during the presidential race.
Sharpton then shamelessly revealed that Harris and him have a friendly history by recalling how he and Harris ate out together while she was running for president at the same place he had eaten “with Barack Obama when he was running for president.” Harris smiled and nodded along as he reminisced on the occasion:
I want to get back to the COVID-19 issue that you raised. But let me first say and ask you this. About two years ago last week, you were running for president and I took you to Sylvia's restaurant, the world famous soul food restaurant, and we sat at the same table that I had sat with Barack Obama when he was running for president. You were running for president. And we talked about the issues that was of concern, from healthcare to education to policing and all. But you also talked a lot about history to me. You asked me a lot of questions about Shirley Chisholm, who I worked with when I was a kid. You asked me a lot about Reverend Jesse Jackson, who helped me get into activism. So I know you had a keen sense of history and even my own journey.
Sharpton then praised Harris for being “a Sista with the ‘A,’ not the ‘Er’” and salivated over her attending the historically black Howard University and being a member of AKA, a black sorority. He asked her how these experiences “helped make” her, which teed up Harris to spout more platitudes (click "expand"):
SHARPTON: You’re not only the first woman Vice President, first black woman, first South Asian, South Pacific woman, you are also the first HBC graduate from Howard University and you’re the first AKA member. Dr. Linda Glover, the head of Aka, told me “Make sure you tell the world that she's AKA.” How much of Howard University and HBCU -- how much of that shaped you? Because we began in the last decade or so to see people, black, come out of Ivy League school. But to come out of HBCU and you're sitting there in the ceremonial office of the White House as the Vice President of the United States, this is your first interview in that ceremonial office, last night you had members of the Congressional Black office, a Sista with the "A," not the "Er," from Howard sitting there, how much of that Howard and the AKA -- how much of that helped make you and who you are and where you are and how you sit there now?
HARRIS: There are two things that I attribute to who I am. One is the family in which I was raised and the other is Howard University.
Sharpton, who crazily claimed that the COVID vaccine would be like the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, praised Harris, who said that she might not take a vaccine developed by the Trump administration, for helping the black community trust the vaccine and trumpeted that he got his “first shot because the Vice President told me to do it.”
Sharpton ended the interview by praising Harris for her record as a prosecutor and telling Harris that she is “continuing black history:”
We’ve known each other since you were a DA in San Francisco and you have always been straight and inspiring and I'm very grateful that you opened this special for us because not only do we study black history, because of you we are continuing black history.
Sharpton revealed his true partisan colors by not asking Harris about her time as a DA because for someone who spends so much time advocating for social justice, one would think that he would have questions about Harris convicting 1,900 people for marijuana and advocating that non-violent offenders stay in prison so that they could continue to provide California cheap labor.
Now that Democrats are in the White House, MSNBC is state run TV.
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Read the full February 27th transcript here:
AL SHARPTON: Good evening and welcome to PoliticsNation. Tonight's lead, a special Black History Month edition of our show. Special, not that it deviates from any and every show we've done, this is PoliticsNation after all, but because this week, I had the exclusive privilege of being Vice President Kamala Harris’s first virtual sit-down television interview. It comes just over a month into the Biden era as the Vice President and the new administration tend to dual troubles. The rancor of the last four years culminating last month's violence and an impeachment trial that she declined to preside over and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. Which she serves as President Biden's right hand woman in his war -- in his war-time response to the plague which remains the prime -- prime legislative fight on Capitol Hill as the President's relief bill passed last night with no Republican support and even as the President is promising more vaccinations and more Americans and even sooner than promised, the numbers continue to bear out the fears that many black and brown Americans have had from the beginning, that they would be left behind. I asked the nation's first black and brown Vice President about all of this and, of course, the history she sees in the mirror everyday, one month after her historic inauguration and a little later in the show, I'll talk to civil rights royalty, the son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. join me with what Kamala Harris's rise means to them. Of course, without exaggerating, the Vice President still has much, much history left to make. And so with that, there's where we started in our conversation, legacy. I am honored on this Black History Month special edition of PoliticsNation to have with us the Vice President of the United States, the honorable Kamala Harris. Ms. -- Madam Vice President, first of all, thank you for being with us for this.
KAMALA HARRIS: Of course Rev, it’s good to be with you.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, what does Black History Month mean to you?
HARRIS: It means everything to me. Including the fact that, Rev, as you know, this -- this week we acknowledged the half -- over half a million Americans who died in just the last year and, you know, part of what we must do as a nation, all of us, is -- is recognize the loss and the grief so many families who because of the nature of this virus weren't able to be with their loved one during their last days on Earth and so when I think about the history and I think about what we then have a responsibility to do to -- to carry the baton as our role in -- in the ongoing history. I do think about this moment in the context of so much suffering and loss and how it has disproportionately impacted black Americans. So there is that. I think about black history knowing that I, for one, stand on very broad shoulders of all those who came before me who imagined a day that there would be a black woman to be Vice President of the United States. I think about Barbara Jordan, I think about Shirley Chisholm, I think about all of those great heroes who fought and knew that there would be this moment. But that -- when we -- when we -- when we -- receive the baton in this relay race of life, it is incumbent on us during the time we have it to lead with courage, to speak truth, and to do it in a way that uplifts people.
SHARPTON: I want to get back to the COVID-19 issue that you raised. But let me first say and ask you this. About two years ago last week, you were running for president and I took you to Sylvia's restaurant --
SHARPTON: -- the world famous soul food restaurant, and we sat in the same table --
HARRIS: That’s right.
SHARPTON: -- at the same table that I had sat with Barack Obama when he was running for president. You were running for president. And we talked about the issues that was of concern, from healthcare to education to policing and all.
SHARPTON: But you also talked a lot about history to me. You -- you asked me a lot of questions about Shirley Chisholm, who I worked with --
SHARPTON: -- when I was a kid.
SHARPTON: You asked me a lot about Reverend Jesse Jackson, who helped me get into activism. So I know you had a keen sense of history and even my own journey. Who are the people that influenced Kamala Harris to be the Vice President of the United States? I mean, we know you --
SHARPTON: -- the Americans know you.
SHARPTON: But there must have been people that helped to guide you --
SHARPTON: -- whether you knew them, whether you studied them or not.
SHARPTON: Who was important to Kamala Harris as a black historic figure?
HARRIS: One of the first was Thurgood Marshall. You know, I grew up, as you know, a child of the -- of the civil rights movement. My parents were active in the civil rights movement and -- and Thurgood together with Charles Hamilton Houston and Constance Baker Motley, they understood the power they had as attorneys, as lawyers, to translate the passions from the streets to the courtrooms of our country. They understood how they could challenge us to be true to the ideals behind the Constitution of the United States and in that way fight for equality for all people. And they were heros in my mind growing up and that's why I wanted to be a lawyer. Because I believed that being a lawyer was a way that you could fight for justice and equality. And so you know, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, I mean, those women who challenge notions of who holds political office and -- and who could even run and think of themselves as occupying a seat in the White House, I mean, Shirley Chisholm, we're celebrating this year the 50th anniversary of the Congressional Black Congress, Shirley Chisholm was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus. She was unbought and unbossed and -- and the way that she carried herself with such dignity and strength and -- and unapologetic role of leadership. Those are some and then there are others who you will not know their names but in my mind they are also part of black history, people like Mrs. Regina Shelton, who was from Louisiana who was my second mother, who -- who helped raise us and who always taught me to -- to have courage and to believe I could be anything I wanted to be and to never hear no. So there are so many. And I think that, Rev, when we think about black history, we also have to remember in that way that black history did not end in 1967.
HARRIS: And -- and that there are all of these historical figures since then and those that are living now. I mean, I think of one who we just recently lost with Cicely Tyson --
HARRIS: -- right? And -- and so when we remember and think of black history, let's -- let’s remember all of it and then remember, again, that we who -- who are part of their legacy have as our responsibility to -- to think of our role at this moment on Earth, being alive at this moment on Earth, and what we will do to carry -- to carry on the legacy around a commitment to justice and equality and -- and -- and fairness for all people.
SHARPTON: You're -- you’re not only the first woman Vice President, first black woman, first South Asian, South Pacific woman, you are also the first HBC graduate --
SHARPTON: -- from Howard University and you’re the first AKA member.
SHARPTON: Dr. Linda Glover, the head of Aka, told me “Make sure you tell the world that she's AKA.” How much of Howard University and HBCU -- how much of that shaped you? Because we began in the last decade or so --
SHARPTON: -- to see people, black, come out of Ivy League school. But to come out of HBCU and you're sitting there in the ceremonial office --
SHARPTON: -- of the White House as the Vice --
SHARPTON: -- President of the United States, this is your first interview in that ceremonial office, last night you had members --
HARRIS: That’s right.
SHARPTON: -- of the Congressional Black office, a -- a -- a Sista with the "A," not the "Er," from Howard sitting there, how much of that Howard and the AKA -- how much of that helped make you and who you are and where you are and how you sit there now?
HARRIS: There are two things that I attribute to -- to who I am. One is the family in which I was raised and the other is Howard University. And any -- any graduate of a HBCU can tell that what you it means to -- in those years when you become an adult, you know, those years of 18 through 24, where you are in a place where every signal you receive tells you that you belong, that you will be nurtured, that you will be challenged, and that you will be expected to do well and do well for others. You know, the -- the Divine Nine. You know, I -- I enjoyed talking about the Divine Nine when I accepted the nomination to be on the ticket and I -- and I described, as I do feel, the Divine Nine as part of my family, right? And so I talked about family as the Divine Nine family. And -- and reporters would say, well, what is the Divine Nine? And I thought, well, you're about to find out. Because what we are talking about is nine sororities and fraternities, most of which were founded in -- in the early 1900s for black women and men who were in college, was about not only creating an environment in which they were nurtured but also charging us with living a life that was about service, service to community, service to others, and all of that informed in so many ways who I am.
SHARPTON: Now, we are in the midst of a pandemic. We are disproportionately impacted in the black community, but as you said, a half a million people have died. And putting the politics aside, this is a real human crisis. And in the black community, we've had the problem of hesitancy and questioning and -- and given a bad history, there's no reason why we wouldn't. But you've been that champion of trying to convince us, including people like me that were reluctant and you're doing something specific. Tell us about Thursday.
HARRIS: So Thursday I'm going to visit a pharmacy, which is one of the -- the hundreds that we are directly getting vaccinations to -- getting vaccines to so folks can get vaccinated in their communities. So we have actually distributed two million vaccines to -- to local pharmacies and communities. We're also getting at least a million vaccines to community health centers, those trusted places in the community where folks go for their health care. And the point, Rev, is this -- I got vaccinated. I can tell you, first of all, that these vaccines are safe. It will save your life. There is a -- a black woman, Dr. Kizzy Corbett, who was part of the team of scientists who created this vaccine and it will save your life. Yes, we must speak truth about the history of medical testing in this country. We must be honest about the fact that people have a righteous skepticism about how it has been used, how it has been tested, and on whom it will be used. There is a righteous skepticism if you know history but I promise you and I am telling you, this vaccine is safe and it will save your life and the lives of your family and your community and we have it within our power to actually do that. So get your vaccination when it is your turn. It will save your life.
SHARPTON: You know, I, as I said, I've been out there dealing with COVID -19 testing but I was skeptical about the vaccine but you turned me around, you talked to me. And while you were out there at the pharmacy, I got a couple of ministers, we're going to Harlem Hospital at the same time you're out there and get vaccinated, my first shot, because the Vice President told me to do it. I think that --
HARRIS: That's right.
SHARPTON: -- that -- that’s part of what you bring to that office. And -- and as we continue fighting on other things, voting and all of that, the first thing we have do is be here and be alive.
HARRIS: And that -- but that's right, Rev and here's the thing, let's not let COVID get us.
HARRIS: Let's get the vaccine instead, right? Let's not let this thing get us. We know black people are disproportionately likely to contract the virus and die from it. We know when you look at who the front line workers are who have been most at risk, disproportionately we are talking about people of color. When you look at the fact that black small businesses, as many as I've seen, 40%, are going out of business or have gone out of business, it is disproportionately affecting us. And if we want to get control of this virus that is harming us at a disproportionate rate, part of it is to get vaccinated when it is our turn. Part of it is to wear your mask, I have my mask right here, to wear your mask all the time when you are around other people. Six feet of distance. Wash your hand with warm or hot water and soap. Let's save our lives. That’s what this is about. We're going to get beyond this. And part of what the President and I are offering as part of the relief is the American rescue plan, to say we -- it can't only be on -- on folks, it has to be all of us working together. So that's what everybody needs to do as an individual, get the vaccine, wear a mask, social distancing, wash your hands. What we need to do is pass the American Rescue Plan so we can get those $1,400 checks to folks, so we can save our small businesses, so that we can pass the child tax credit so that families can lift half of American children who are living in poverty out of poverty. Let's extend the unemployment benefits. Let's do all of these things, partnering together, so that we can get through this moment of crisis because I'm telling you, I have faith, I believe in our ability to get through this and to be better on the other side, if we all work together to lift folks up and to lift ourselves up when we have the opportunity.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this last question. 50 years from now, Black History Month, they will look at this period and even in the pandemic, we see an explosion of black women, a black woman Vice President, but who also brought in black women --
SHARPTON: Ashley Etienne, Symone Sanders, in the White House -- Karine Jean Pierre. You didn't come --
SHARPTON: -- and leave folk out.
SHARPTON: -- Brought folk with you.
SHARPTON: I see the explosion everywhere. Right at MSNBC, you see the first black woman president of a cable network --
SHARPTON: -- all of this happening. What do you hope they will say? You'll probably still be around in some spot, pants suit and some converse sneakers but I'll be gone. What do you hope they will say about Kamala Harris, the first black woman Vice President of the United States 50 years from now?
HARRIS: I -- I -- I hope and pray that for all of the names that you mentioned and all of us who are part of this, they will say they were great leaders, that they saw the people, that they saw the people and spoke to their needs and lifted us up. Not only in terms of our human condition but in terms of our spirit.
SHARPTON: Well, Madam Vice President, we've known each other since you were a DA in San Francisco --
SHARPTON: -- and you have always been straight and inspiring and I'm very grateful --
HARRIS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: -- that you opened this special for us because not only do we study black history, because of you we are continuing black history.