Veep thoughts by Kamala Harris

Roger Kimball covered Vice President Harris’s tragicomic sojourn in Eastern Europe last week in his weekend Spectator column. We last checked in with Harris at Thursday’s press conference with the Polish president. On Friday, Harris moved on from Poland to Romania for another press conference, this time with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. The White House has posted the transcript of Harris’s remarks here.

A reporter posed this not exactly shocking question: “President Biden has said that Americans will feel some pain for the sake of defending freedom and liberty, but there does seem to be no endgame in sight. How long should Americans expect — how long should we be bracing for this really, sort of, historic inflation and some unprecedented gas prices?” The transcript reflects that Harris wrestled with the question in her accustomed style:

Sure. In terms of the discussions that the President Iohannis and I had, they ranged in subject, including the issue of the Black Sea, and I’ll let him explain in more detail as he would like.

But we are, again, fully aware and apprised because we are in constant communication with the President, with his administration here about the concerns that they have about the entire region and, frankly, the vulnerability.

All you have to do is look at the map and see that where Romania exists geographically — and as is the case for our Allies on the eastern flank — that there are potential vulnerabilities, which is why we say very clearly: We will dedicate — and have been especially enhancing, over the last few weeks — our support based on their current needs.

When we look at Putin’s actions — the previous question — there is — it is painful to watch. It is painful to watch what is happening to innocent people in Ukraine who just want to live in their own country and have pride in themselves as Ukrainians, who want to be home speaking the language they know, going to the church that they know, raising their children in the community where their families have lived for generations. And by the millions, now, are having to flee with nothing but a backpack.

And then you compound that with what happened a couple of days — the President talked about it today; I talked about it yesterday — in terms of a maternity hospital, pregnant women. We are — we have the unfortunate experience, all of us right now who are not in Ukraine, of witnessing horror.

So we are committed in everything we are doing. And, yes, then the President did say in the State of the Union, there is a price to pay for democracy. Got to stand with your friends. And as everybody knows, even in your personal life, being loyal to those friendships based on common principles and values, sometimes it’s difficult. Often, it ain’t easy. But that’s what the friendship is about, based on shared values. So that’s what we’re doing.

“It is painful to watch” suffices as a generally applicable observation.

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