“And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place.” – VP Kamala Harris
As I’ve said before, whenever Democrats find themselves on the ropes as a result of political calamities of their own making, it never fails that the mainstream media and so-called “fact checkers” will hit the Code Red button in their rush to rescue them from themselves before the damage becomes insurmountable.
That exact scenario has played out to a “t” over the past week or so in the aftermath of controversial comments Vice President Kamala Harris made at a DNC women’s leadership forum that was held last Friday, two days after Hurricane Ian slammed into southwestern Florida and beyond.
In the context of a discussion about Hurricane Ian relief aid and addressing “the climate crisis in the states” and how the Biden administration was handling that, Harris made the following remarks:
“It is our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions, and impacted by issues that are not of their own making,” the vice president told [movie star Priyanka Chopra Jonas]. “And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place.”
“And if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities and do that work,” she continued.
For those who missed it, watch:
You can’t make this up.
Kamala Harris said the administration will be giving hurricane resources “based on equity” by directing funds to “communities of color.”
I guess everyone else is just screwed. 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/75y4JfoYD7
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) September 30, 2022
Her comments and the video went viral as conservatives correctly pointed out that Harris was basically saying that relief aid should be distributed based on race.
Not surprisingly, The Usual Suspects in the media and in Fact Check World sprung into action, with the Associated Press, FactCheck.org, Reuters, and Politifact all surging to Harris’ defense:
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a DNC event about distributing equitable resources to help with the effects of climate change. She did not say that Hurricane Ian relief will be distributed based on race, as some claimed online. https://t.co/lCGveoW3w6
— AP Fact Check (@APFactCheck) October 4, 2022
VP Kamala Harris spoke about the need to provide "resources" for climate change mitigation "based on equity." Republicans misleadingly claimed she said the Biden administration would provide hurricane relief based on race. We put her remarks in context. https://t.co/IfYs9wfR0K
— FactCheck.org (@factcheckdotorg) October 3, 2022
Claims that U.S. VP Kamala Harris said Hurricane Ian relief funds would be distributed based "on equity" are missing context. A clip shared online shows only an extract of her comments on Hurricane Ian and the impact of climate change more broadly https://t.co/UUdlRED4ZP pic.twitter.com/FZTCJwQnZV
— Reuters Fact Check (@ReutersFacts) October 4, 2022
VP Kamala Harris’ response to a question mentioned several issues related to climate change and its effects, including Hurricane Ian. She did not say, as GOP Florida Sen. Rick Scott alleged, that relief money would be granted based on “skin color.” https://t.co/m1YHHrgMbj
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) October 3, 2022
As did CBS News:
CBS's Margaret Brennan tried to gaslight Senator Rick Scott by claiming Kamala Harris didn't want to help Floridians who were affected by Hurricane Ian based on race. "That's not what the Vice President said. She talked about equity."
Equity is race based treatment! pic.twitter.com/xWCl9IzpW6
— Kevin Tober (@KevinTober94) October 2, 2022
Reuters reporter Nandita Bose, who boasted about being the only “WH pool print reporter in the room” at the DNC event, alleged that Harris’ comments were “being deliberately distorted,” and posted an entire thread putting them in context, as if that changed anything.
In a nutshell, the claims were rated “false” or “misleading” or “out of context” by the above fact-checkers because Harris’ critics were attaching her comments directly the Hurricane Ian relief aid efforts. But whether she meant Hurricane Ian aid or, more broadly, equity in aid distribution for future natural disasters, the underlying point was still the same: race-based distribution of aid:
"Fact checkers" can say Kamala didn't EXPLICITLY connect "equity" in Ian relief.
But she did say "equity" should be a guiding principle in disaster relief. Reporters should ask if not now, in which disaster will it be applied? Or is this just empty talk?https://t.co/hMdhb7B8EQ
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) October 6, 2022
Politifact’s “fact check” in particular included a false statement initially made by Politfact themselves regarding FEMA and equity relief efforts, according to the below screengrab:
— Bryan W. White (@ZebraFactCheck) October 4, 2022
— Bryan W. White (@ZebraFactCheck) October 4, 2022
Politifact has since updated their fact check to point out that there is nothing on the FEMA website regarding Hurricane Ian aid “specific to race or equity,” (emphasis mine) while noting “FEMA’s website does address the agency’s efforts to improve equity in services”:
There is nothing on a FEMA webpage for Hurricane Ian victims or the federal Disaster Assistance Improvement Program specific to race or equity, just information about how Floridians affected by the storm can get help. Elsewhere, FEMA’s website does address the agency’s efforts to improve equity in services “so all people, including those from vulnerable and underserved communities, can get help when they need it.”
These people are nothing if not predictable.
To draw your own conclusions, watch the video below which contains Harris’ full remarks. The conversation in question starts within the first couple of minutes:
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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