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15 Jul, 2023 18:21

US VP Harris speaks of desire to ‘reduce the population’

The White House has claimed she meant to say “pollution” in a speech touting Biden’s green energy funding
US VP Harris speaks of desire to ‘reduce the population’

US Vice President Kamala Harris listed reducing the population as one of the Biden administration’s areas of green investment during a speech in Maryland on Friday. The White House has since claimed she misspoke.

“When we invest in clean energy and electric vehicles and reduce population, more of our children can breathe clean air and drink clean water,” Harris told the audience at Baltimore’s Coppin State University, to rapturous applause. 

While Harris did not correct herself on stage, a White House transcript of the speech struck the word “population” and replaced it with “pollution.” 

The VP made the odd remark as she revealed the Biden administration had made $20 billion available for “community-based climate projects,” with $12 billion of that earmarked for historically-disadvantaged areas – part of Washington’s efforts to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050. 

The funding will go to “a national network of nonprofits, community lenders, and other financial institutions to fund tens of thousands of climate and clean energy projects across America,” Harris said. It was set aside for green energy initiatives under the Inflation Reduction Act as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. 

Harris’ critics took aim at the alleged gaffe on social media, suggesting she was “saying the quiet part out loud,” while critics of the man-made climate change hypothesis argued cutting population was its true aim.  

“Are you the population she wants to reduce?” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) asked his followers.

Commentators including Megyn Kelly and Fox’s Harris Faulkner questioned Harris’ fitness to succeed President Joe Biden after the VP stumbled through multiple public appearances earlier this week. 

During a Wednesday panel discussion on AI at the White House, she informed the panelists that the technology was “kind of a fancy thing,” telling the assembled experts, “First of all, it’s two letters. It means artificial intelligence,” before embarking on a rambling attempt to explain machine learning. During a roundtable on transportation for people with disabilities the same day, she observed, “the issue of transportation is fundamentally about just making sure that people have the ability to get where they need to go.” Both comments were widely mocked on social media.