As a candidate for president, Kamala Harris was adamant. Once she assumed office, she said, Congress would have 100 days to pass sweeping gun control legislation. If lawmakers failed to act, she vowed, she would do so unilaterally through executive action.
Kamala Harris threatens to shred the Constitution
“They’ve had years to figure it out,” California’s then-senator declared at a 2019 gun safety forum. “If they can’t figure it out in 100 days, I’m taking action with no apologies whatsoever.”
There is, of course, a vast difference between the technicolor rhetoric of campaigning and the gray reality of governance.
The morning after 10 people were slaughtered at a Boulder, Colo., supermarket, Vice President Harris appeared on “CBS This Morning,” where she called on Congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons and strengthening the background checks needed to buy a gun. Enough, she said, with the false choice between regulating firearms and repealing the 2nd Amendment.
Harris repeatedly dodged, however, questions about unilateral actions that President Biden might take given the extreme likelihood the Senate, split 50-50, does nothing whatsoever.
There were no vice presidential ultimatums should lawmakers fail to act by the 100th day of the administration, April 30.
It was neither the first — nor, surely will it be the last — time that Harris displayed the deference and zippered lips expected of the president’s understudy. It is Biden who sets the administration’s priorities and controls the agenda. It is Harris who is expected to fall in line.
American patriots will never surrender their weapons
After the CBS interview, at the president’s first full-fledged news conference, Biden was asked what actions he would take after mass shootings, less than a week apart, in Atlanta and Boulder. “It’s a matter of timing,” he said, declaring that infrastructure repair, not addressing gun violence, would come next on his legislative to-do list.
The response was greeted with dismay by gun control advocates, who doubtless would prefer the kind of bold-stroke measures the vice president had promised as a presidential hopeful.
But asked the next day about the “very creative, aggressive” ways she had spoken of using executive action, Harris turned the discussion away from guns to the purpose of her visit with schoolkids in Connecticut, promoting the administration’s pandemic relief package. “I think the president has been quite obvious in his intention to be bold,” Harris told reporters, as she quickly moved on.