Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday that aid distributed in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Ian should be “based on equity.”
“It is our lowest-income communities and communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues not of their own making—” Harris said before being interrupted by Priyanka Chopra Jonas at a Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum.
“Women,” Jonas added.
“Absolutely,” Harris replied. “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 disparities and do that work.”
Harris’ comments drew fire from some conservatives who took the comments to mean that race was being factored into aid distribution.
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“Kamala Harris couldn’t even make it through five minutes before bringing up social justice and equity,” journalist Ian Miles Cheong tweeted. “If Hurricane Ian gave a chance for the Biden administration and its lackeys to behave like normal politicians, they completely failed to pass the bar.”
Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reelection campaign, disputed Harris’s comments.
“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,” Pushaw tweeted. Pushaw reiterated that aid was being distributed regardless of race or background in multiple tweets Friday night.
Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Fort Myers, Florida, knocking out power and causing extensive damage. The hurricane hit Charleston, South Carolina, Friday afternoon.