NEW YORK CITY (TND) — Vice President Kamala Harris visited "The Late Show" on Wednesday night, and she laughed while host Stephen Colbert repeatedly asked her what her "actual role" as vice president is.
At the beginning of their chat, Harris shared that she knew Colbert "love[s]" the HBO show "Veep," an American comedy series centered around a fictional female vice president played by Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
"I do! I love ‘Veep.’ Is it accurate?" Colbert asked jokingly, to which Harris replied: "There are bits of it that are actually quite accurate!"
Harris then shared that she recently met Julia Louis-Dreyfus and continued her conversation with Colbert on how she and her fictional "Veep" counterpart somewhat relate.
One of the themes of the show is that her character, Selina Meyer, is frustrated by the sometimes vague duties of the role," Colbert then asks. "It’s a high constitutional office but does not describe what you’re supposed to be doing. Does that ring true? Like, what’s the actual role on a daily basis as you have found it?"
Well, I have the great privilege of serving with Joe Biden, who is the President of the United States and was vice president," Harris answers.
Colbert then asks Harris if Biden understands "what it's like to be vice president?"
Harris replies by saying "he does, he does."
He really is a true partner and he understands that job... and remember, we came in during the height of the pandemic and so much of the work was about... okay, we’ve got to cover a lot of bases and let’s figure out between us how we can do it," Harris continues, "But he’s an extraordinary leader and I wish people could see what I see because there’s only one person who sits behind that Resolute Desk."
And the decisions that person has to make are the decisions that nobody else in the country can make," Harris adds. "He’s an extraordinary leader. He really is."
The audience erupts into applause following Harris's words. Colbert grins slightly and stares at his desk briefly before repeating his previous question.
That's an excellent answer and, uh, the question was what's the job of the vice president," Colbert says through small chuckles, causing Harris to burst out in laughter. "And your answer is part of the job, I'm guessing."
Harris then apparently attempts to answer Colbert's question, this time by giving an example of something she has done in her role as vice president.
I will tell you... I was recently in Munich at the Munich Security Conference. The job there was to stand up, and, as you know, most of my career has been as a prosecutor, and I declared that we, the United States of America, believe Russia has committed crimes against humanity."
Again, Colbert's audience cheers and applauds after Harris's remarks. Colbert doesn't ask his original question again, but instead asks Harris what the "significance" of her saying those words on "the world stage."
I think there's a great deal of significance and in fact I contextualized my speech and that statement in just that way, that as a former prosecutor, I understand the significance of reviewing... looking at the evidence and comparing it to the law," Harris says. "And when we look at the evidence that... the U.N. for example a child, a girl as young as four years old was assaulted by a Russian soldier. When we look at the images... We all saw... of a, of a pregnant woman who was at a maternity hospital, who was slaughtered, that there is no question that these are crimes against humanity.
And we must declare it as so, and we as the United States of America must speak clearly and forcefully about the need to maintain standards that are international rules and laws around behavior such as that... and to ensure consequence and accountability," Harris continues. "And that was one of my most recent toles as Vice President of the United States, to stand before our allies... and not only state our position, but to encourage others to stand with us."
Colbert then asks Harris what she thinks about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis referring to the war in Ukraine as a "territorial dispute."
So, as vice president, I have now met with over 100 world leaders. Presidents, prime ministers, chancellors and kings," Harris says in response. "And when you’ve had the experience of meeting and understanding the significance, again, of international rules and norms, and the importance of the United States of America standing firm and clear about the significance of sovereignty and territorial integrity, the significance of standing firm against any nation that we tried to take by force another nation, if you really understand the issues, you probably would not make statements like that."
Later, Colbert seemingly jokingly asks Harris a softball question on whether the vice president is an executive or legislative branch of government position, a stab at former Vice President Mike Pence according to a later tweet from the show.
I am in the executive branch," Harris quickly answers while laughing.
According to the United States Senate, "other than to succeed to the presidency upon the death or resignation of a president," a vice president's "only constitutional duty is to preside over the Senate."
Vice presidents can't vote in the Senate unless it's to break a tie. Also, vice presidents cannot formally address the Senate unless given permission by senators.