Vice President-elect Kamala Harris addressed the violence that rocked Capitol Hill last week during an interview with NPR on Thursday, calling the attack highly reminiscent of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the lynching of Emmett Till.
“It was a day that wherein we witnessed an assault on America’s democracy, a day when we witnessed the terror that a few can wreak on so many,” Harris said. “It will be in history recorded as one of the worst days in terms of an attack on the integrity of our democracy.”
When asked about the Confederate flag, noose and other disturbing symbols associated with white supremacy that were spotted during the riots, Harris said she was reminded of both the deadly rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and the lynching of Till in 1955. The 14-year-old was killed in Mississippi after a white woman falsely accused him of making sexual advances.
“Sadly, it is not the first time I have seen a demonstration like what you are describing in the history of our country,” she said.
Despite the chaos of the opening days of 2021, Harris said she was optimistic about the future and called the U.S. a “work in progress.”
She added that it was important for the inauguration to proceed as normally as possible — even though much of the Capitol will be on lockdown, with an estimated 20,000 members of the National Guard expected to stand by as she and President-elect Joe Biden take their oaths.
“We cannot abandon the appreciation that we should all have for the traditions that are symbolic of our commitment to our democracy, which includes a peaceful transfer of power, which includes what we do to bring in one administration after another in a way that is about upholding basic standards ... as outlined in the Constitution,” Harris said.
Read Harris’ full interview here.