Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday condemned the portrayal of President Joe Biden in a special counsel report about his handling of classified documents, calling the questions about “politically motivated.”
The vice president’s comments came in response to a question from a reporter at a community violence awareness event at the White House on Friday.
“The way that the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized could not be more wrong on the facts and clearly politically motivated,” Harris said.
The vice president noted that as a former prosecutor herself, she found the investigators’ comments in the report “gratuitous, inaccurate and inappropriate.” In one description of Biden, investigators call him a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
“When it comes to the role and responsibility of a prosecutor in a situation like that, we should expect that there would be a higher level of integrity than what we saw,” Harris said.
A Justice Department report from special counsel Robert Hur released on Thursday found that while Biden “willfully” retained and disclosed classified materials, no criminal charges were warranted.
But the depiction of Biden, including describing his memory as “limited” and “poor,” drew a forceful response from the president and White House on Thursday.
“My memory is fine,” Biden insisted to reporters on Thursday night.
The vice president’s comments came at the end of her remarks to community violence intervention leaders from 21 cities in 17 states at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
There, Harris honored the first graduates of the Chicago Crime Lab’s Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy. The academy works with local leaders on skills and resources to combat gun violence and keep communities safe.
“The characteristic of real leaders is the character that has some level of curiosity, concern and care about the suffering of other people and takes it upon themselves as part of their life’s work and mission to uplift the condition of other people,” Harris told the guests in attendance. “And that’s who you are and that’s how you do what you do.”
“For all of those reasons, I congratulate the graduates,” Harris said, going to say the group is convened “because we also know that when it comes to gun violence, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The vice president noted it was “reasonable to say we need an assault weapons ban” and red flag laws.
When talking about what else needs to be done, she noted she was “pointing in the direction of what I believe to be the Capitol.”
Harris – who oversees the White House’s first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention launched last year – has become a central voice for the administration on gun violence, traveling the country to give remarks and participate in moderated discussions on the topic as well as frequently hosting local leaders in Washington. During such events, the vice president often recounts her own experiences when it comes to gun violence during her time as a district attorney and attorney general.
“It’s not only about mass shooting situations, which are horrific, but it's about everyday gun violence,” Harris said.
Friday’s convening followed a full week of events put on by the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which included a message from the president shared with leaders focused on gun violence prevention. Coinciding with Black History Month, at least two events were centered specifically on preventing gun violence in Black communities.