Vice President Kamala Harris returned to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert for the sixth time on Wednesday, where she candidly discussed laws currently being passed about reproductive rights, calling them “inhumane.” She also shared her thoughts on Ron DeSantis’ claim that the war on Ukraine is a “territorial dispute” and what she thinks will be the key issues in the 2024 presidential election.
“I think it’s the height of irresponsibility,” Harris said when Colbert asked her about all of the laws that have been drafted since Roe v. Wade was overturned. “In fact, in many cases [it’s] inhumane what has been happening in states around our country who are passing laws that would criminalize healthcare providers, literally provide for jail time for doctors and nurses who provide reproductive healthcare, that would punish women for simply seeking the kind of care that they choose that they need.”
Harris also addressed the idea that some states wouldn’t even allow for abortion in cases of rape or incest.
“Let’s speak clearly about what this means,” she said. “After a person has gone through a most vicious violation of their body, then the government will tell them, ‘And after that, you also will not have autonomy and be able to make decisions about your body as it relates to the decision you make next.’”
The vice president then went on to address people who are against abortions due to their religious beliefs: “One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do with her body.”
Earlier in the evening, Harris and Colbert kicked off their conversation by discussing HBO’s Veep, with the host asking the vice president if the series had any similarities to what it’s actually like holding that office. Before answering his question, the former attorney general took a moment to praise President Joe Biden and the “extraordinary leader” he is.
She then explained that one of her jobs is “to stand before our allies and partners around the world — in particular in the context of our transatlantic relationships — and to not only state our position but to encourage others to stand with us as we have been doing since Feb. 24 of last year, during this year of this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.”
Colbert piggybacked off of Harris’ mention of Ukraine to ask the vice president about what she thought of DeSantis calling the war a “territorial dispute.”
“When you have 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,” she said, “the significance of standing firm against any nation that will try to take by force another nation, if you really understand the issues, you probably would not make statements like that.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Harris wouldn’t confirm whether or not she and Biden would be running for office again in 2024, but Colbert took a moment anyway to ask her what she thinks will be the biggest issues that will define the coming election. She doubled down on statements Biden has made that next year’s race will be about building on the momentum of the last two years, primarily addressing the climate crisis — a cause which she said she and Biden have put $1 trillion into.
In their final exchange of the night, Colbert asked Harris what fuels her love of this country and makes her want to serve as its vice president.
“In these years where we have witnessed so-called leaders attempting to create division between us,” she said, “I meet people who are the most optimistic about what is possible, who believe in each other, who understand that we all have so much more in common than what separates us.”
She concluded, “We believe in freedom and liberty as Americans, and we fight for it. Now, there will be those of the extremes, but the vast majority of us, I think, [have] great pride and understanding that our democracy will only be as strong as our willingness each one of us to fight for it.”