In the wake of Joe Biden’s flub on Ukraine at a press conference on Wednesday, Kamala Harris appeared in support of the White House effort to repair Biden’s mistakes. Biden revealed Nato was divided over how to handle a minor Russian invasion.
“The president of the United States has made it clear, and the United States is also clear: we are prepared to levy severe and serious consequences if Putin takes aggressive action,” Harris said in an appearance on Thursday’s on NBC’s Today Show.
“The White House has not been very clear,” Host Savannah Guthrie countered. A White House statement, issued minutes after Biden’s press conference affirming a “unified response” between the United States and its allies, was “less than clear.”
The way I am communicating with you right now is clear. If you are interested, I will continue to be clear,” Harris responded.
In the course of his two-hour press conference, Wednesday’s second solo press conference since taking office, Biden mentioned the decision Nato allies will have to make if there is an incursion by Russia.
“I think you will see that if Russia invades, it will be held accountable and it will depend on what it does,” he said. “It’s one thing if it’s an intruder, and then we end up fighting over what to do and what not to do.”
During an interview with the press, Biden was asked to clarify what constitutes a minor incursion. He said cyber-attacks and intelligence officers from Russia were among the reasons.
Biden noted that Nato members differ in what they are willing to do, depending on what happens. “If there are Russian forces crossing the border, everything changes,” he said.
Within 30 minutes of the press conference, there was a clarification issued by the White House press secretary. Jen Psaki said on Monday that any Russian military forces moving into Ukraine would be considered a “renewal of an invasion,” and the U.S. and its allies would respond swiftly and severely.”
The kerfuffle has alarmed the Ukrainian government, a comment that is interpreted as “green light” for Putin to enter the country at his convenience, according to a CNN official.
When Guthrie questioned Harris on how destructive it was that Biden “openly discussed division within NATO countries and Nato allies,” Harris came to Biden’s defense.
“I think your audience is aware that Joe Biden has been involved in foreign policy leadership for years as the former head of foreign relations, vice president, and senator,” Harris said. Throughout his career, I have seen him engage in direct, honest conversations with our colleagues and allies, and this is not an exception.”