Vice President Harris drops F-bomb while talking about breaking barriers

Harris’ remark drew instant applause and laughter before she said, “Excuse my language!”

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks about reproductive freedoms at Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, on May 8, 2024. (Photo by RYAN COLLERD / AFP) (Photo by RYAN COLLERD/AFP via Getty Images)

Vice President Kamala Harris dropped the F-bomb on Monday while speaking about breaking barriers as the “first” to occupy her role inside the White House.

Harris, the first Black American, first Asian American and first woman to serve as vice president of the United States, used the expletive during a moderated conversation for a leadership summit hosted by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS). 

The VP was asked by actor and comedian Jimmy O. Yang about what it felt like to be a “first” and how her heritage as a Black, South Asian American woman has informed her “views and role as a leader.”

The vice president did not hold back while giving advice to the mostly young people in attendance about kicking down doors that were not historically open to them. 

“Don’t ever carry as a personal burden your capacity to do whatever you dream and aspire to do based on other people’s limited ability to see who can do what,” said Harris. “We have to know that sometimes people who’ll open the door for you …  sometimes they won’t. And then you need to kick that f–king door down.”

Harris’ remark drew instant applause and laughter before she said, “Excuse my language!”

During her remarks, the vice president talked about being a barrier breaker and understanding that when one does break such a barrier in politics or elsewhere, one does not always come out unscathed — seemingly referring to her own barrier-breaking career and the public ridicule and scrutiny that has come with it.

“​​Breaking barriers does not mean you start on one side of the barrier, and you end up on the other side. There’s breaking involved and when you break things, you get cut, and you may bleed,” said Harris, adding, “And it is worth it every time.”

She advised the room of young people: “You walk in those rooms, chin up, shoulders back, be it a meeting room, a boardroom, a courtroom, a hearing room.”

The vice president’s candid moment comes amid significant travels and engagement with young voters and voters of color this election cycle. Harris is currently embarking on her “Economic Opportunity Tour,” where she has visited cities with large Black populations in battleground states – Atlanta, Detroit, and on Thursday, Milwaukee – to highlight how the Biden-Harris administration’s economic policies are bringing jobs and investments to minority communities. 

TOPSHOT – US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a campaign event on April 4, 2024, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Allison Joyce / AFP) (Photo by ALLISON JOYCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Following her first tour trips, Vice President Harris announced $5.5 billion of investments through the Department of Housing and Urban Development to boost affordable housing, address homelessness and build wealth.

Last fall, Harris led a “Fight for Our Freedoms College Tour,” where she visited campuses to engage with students about freedoms that Democrats and advocates have decried are under attack, including abortion rights, affirmative action and the teaching of Black history. 

Reecie Colbert, a political commentator who hosts “The Reecie Colbert Show” on Sirius XM, told theGrio that Monday’s moment of candor and the vice president’s overall engagement speaks to a broader effort by Harris to connect with the American voters, particularly those who are young and of color. 

“I think she feels very much at ease in front of crowds talking about the things that actually matter to the people,” Colbert said. “Her focus has been more long-term boots-on-the-ground strategy, as opposed to winning a news cycle. And I think these tours help with that longer-term goal.”

Colbert saw Harris’ Monday F-bomb as her “leaning in more authentically than maybe she felt comfortable doing in the past.” Doing so, she said, would serve the vice president and the administration well as they make the case against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“Vice President Kamala Harris could be the most effective anti-Trump messenger in the country,” said Colbert, who noted being in attendance during Harris’ remarks at Emily’s List national gala, where the vice president denounced the “Trump abortion bans.”

“Her position gives her the unique ability to message on some of the most contentious issues in the country right now: reproductive rights, DEI and a number of things,” Colbert said. 

She added that as the first Black, South Asian American female vice president, Harris “doesn’t get the ability to mess up like other people have,” however if she can “give herself the permission to have her identity separate from being the right hand to President Biden … she will resonate more.”

Colbert concluded, “It serves her and it serves the administration more for her to give herself more freedom outside of maybe what President Biden would say.”

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