Joe Biden, Not Joe Manchin Is President

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a news conference in Guatemala City, Guatemala, June 7, 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters )

Vice President Kamala Harris entered a heated exchange with TV host Charlamagne Tha God on Friday after being asked whether Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) is the “real” president of the U.S.

“I want to know who the real president of this country is. Is it Joe Biden or Joe Manchin?” Charlamagne asked during an interview on his Comedy Central show Tha God’s Honest Truth.

A Harris aide initially attempted to stop the conversation, although it was unclear if the interview was running into overtime. However, Harris decided to continue, at which point Charlamagne asked again if Biden or Manchin was the U.S. president.

“Come on, Charlamagne, it’s Joe Biden,” Harris responded.

“Really?…I can’t tell sometimes,” Charlamagne said.

“No, no, no, no, it’s Joe Biden, and don’t start talking like a Republican about asking whether or not he’s president,” Harris shot back. “And it’s Joe Biden, and I’m vice president and my name is Kamala Harris, and the reality is because we are in office we do the things like the child tax credit which is going to reduce black child poverty by 50 percent—on track to do that.”

Harris touted other initiatives from the Biden administration, adding “I hear the frustration, but let’s not deny the impact that we’ve had, and agree that there is more work to be done.”

Charlamagne praised Harris for her answer.

“I just want you to know, that Madam Vice President, that Kamala Harris—that’s the one I like,” Charlamagne said. “That’s the one I’d like to see more often out in these streets.”

The exchange came while Senator Manchin continues to hold back on supporting the administration’s $2 trillion “Build Back Better” spending bill. With 48 Democrats and two Independents in the Senate, and the vice president as the tie-breaking vote, Democrats are attempting to pass the spending bill via a simple majority using budget reconciliation rules.

Manchin, however, has said the bill’s price tag could exacerbate inflation, with consumer prices rising faster than at any time in the past 30 years.

“The unknown we’re facing today is much greater than the need that people believe in this aspirational bill that we’re looking at,” Manchin said at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit earlier this month. “We’ve gotta make sure we get this right. We just can’t continue to flood the market, as we’ve done.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.