For an administration that has been frequently criticized for its verbal gaffes, this latest incident will do President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris no favors during a time where the Democrat duo needs to curry as much favor with Americans as possible.
Indeed, with the 2024 election season effectively in full swing, Biden and Harris need good will and momentum building — not curious transcript corrections that are capturing national attention.
The latest incident came after the vice president made some peculiar remarks about the various ways in which the government would help combat climate change.
“When we invest in clean energy and electric vehicles and reduce
population [pollution], more of our children can breathe clean air and drink clean water,” Harris said, according to the official White House transcripts.
Harris was speaking at a forum in Baltimore, Maryland.
And yes, she did originally say “population.”
You can see the relevant remarks of hers below:
Now, to be completely fair to Harris, Occam’s Razor would suggest that yes, the vice president really did have a slip of the tongue (“population” and “pollution” do share a bit of phonetic overlap).
That being said, Democrats have long been criticized for actually advocating for various forms of population control and having Harris appear to “say the quiet part out loud” will not help that dogged reputation.
And that matters — even now — despite the general election still being over a year away.
Biden and his administration are a deeply unpopular bunch at the moment, as the president continuously flirts with setting a new low for his presidential approval rating.
Couple that with other bizarre and viral videos (like a recent international incident that saw Biden put his mouth on a child in Finland), and it’s hard to describe the incumbent administration as having positive momentum.
For Harris, things could get even dicier. Remember: As unlikely as it is, Biden could technically seek re-election with a different vice president.
Even the co-hosts on “The View,” ostensibly as friendly of a pulpit for Democrats as any, have expressed some concern about Biden losing in 2024 because of Harris’ general unpopularity.
And yet, despite all the hand-wringing, most experts view the prospects of Biden ditching Harris by the wayside as absurdist fantasy.
“It would be political suicide for Democrats to remove the first African-American woman, a woman of color, from the presidential ticket,” Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher told The 19th.