Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris said at a forum that the Biden administration would focus on “communities of color” when doling out aid related to climate change.
Harris was responding to a question from actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday. Jonas asked about aid in Florida from Hurricane Ian, and also to global leadership on the issue.
“It is our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions, and impacted by issues that are not of their own making,” said Harris.
“And women!” interjected Jonas.
“Absolutely,” Harris agreed.
“And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out in the same place, and if we want people to be in an equal place sometimes we have to take into account those disparities, and do that work,” Harris continued.
The comment was posted to Twitter and mischaracterized as Harris commenting about Hurricane Ian, but the longer video of her comments made it more likely she was referring to the U.S. efforts to address climate change globally.
Christina Pushaw, the rapid response director for Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, made it clear that aid was being distributed without any racial bias.
“This is false. @VP’s rhetoric is causing undue panic and must be clarified. FEMA Individual Assistance is already available to all Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, regardless of race or background,” she tweeted.
“The areas impacted in SWFL are not particularly minority areas. They are getting help based on need not based on race,” she added in a second tweet.
Jonas also praised the Biden administration for passing the largest spending bill to fight global warming, despite it being called the “Inflation Reduction Act.”