Conservative and liberal female figures came to varying conclusions on the validity of Vice President Kamala Harris' reported belief that she's treated worse by the press because of her race and gender.
A recent report by The New York Times suggested Harris, who is the first Black, South Asian or female vice president, has been privately complaining to her allies that the media's coverage of her would be better if she were any of her 48 White, male predecessors.
"Ms. Harris has privately told her allies that the news coverage of her would be different if she were any of her 48 predecessors, all of whom were white and male," the report read.
Liberal radio host and Fox News contributor Leslie Marshall found truth in those claims, arguing that race and gender likely leave the VP vulnerable to "extra scrutiny."
"Yes. I do believe that…Women are definitely held to a different standard," Marshall said in an interview with Fox News Digital. "I don’t think it’s whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, though I think it happens whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican. So when you have the first woman, and the first woman of color also, who happens to be the vice president, I do think that those things…lead to extra scrutiny."
Yet conservative female leaders all pointed to policy. The New York Times report read that Harris had been reaching out to her predecessors about "the difficulties she is facing with the intractable issues in her portfolio, such as voting rights and the root causes of migration."
Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., argued it was that latter assignment, as Biden's border czar, that can account for any untoward media representations about the vice president, and less about her background or appearance. Last year, it took Harris 90 days to make a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border since being appointed as lead on the border crisis. Tens of thousands of migrants, including thousands of unaccompanied minors, have streamed across the border in recent months. When NBC's Lester Holt pressed Harris about the delay and why she had never been to the border as vice president, Harris laughed and responded, "I haven't been to Europe."
"There is nothing sexist or racist stating the fact that Kamala Harris has been an absolute disaster on every policy issue in her portfolio - especially the border crisis," Stefanik told Fox News Digital. "There is nothing sexist or racist about the fact that if you put Kamala Harris on the congressional ballot in any district across America, she would lose because she can’t conduct a basic interview without embarrassing herself and Joe Biden."
Harris has also faced historic low approval ratings in recent months, numbers which liberal late-night host Jimmy Kimmel first and foremost blamed on "sexism and racism." But like Stefanik, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., evoked Harris' failure to secure the border as a likely reason for any negative coverage or poor approval ratings.
"Conservative women trailblazers have been mocked and maligned by the liberal press for years," Blackburn said. "You learn to deal with it and not make excuses. When Vice President Kamala Harris took office, she knew she was charting a new path and would have to prove herself at every step along the way. She could have used her platform to protect the women and girls in Afghanistan, secure the southern border, or reduce crime in our cities. Instead, she tossed aside the historic opportunity she had been given to criticize the tough media environment conservative women have been successfully navigating for decades."
Her gender, Blackburn added, "is no excuse for her disastrous performance."
Felecia Killings, founder and CEO of FeleciaKillings.org and the Conscious Conservative Movement, also expressed her disappointment in how Harris has responded to any perceived challenges. Killings said it would be "reckless" to think that women from all backgrounds do not experience hardships throughout their careers - something she says she knows from personal experience. But it's how women respond to those challenges, she suggested, that matters just as much.
"Many women have taken these challenges and converted these obstacles into stepping stones towards greatness," Killings told Fox News Digital. "In other words, our results speak for themselves. Vice President Harris, like any other politician, has something to prove to the American people. She is not exempt from any scrutiny. Her work must align with the bill of goods she sold to her voters."
"Citizens have every right to hold her accountable," she added. "If she's not doing her job, it has nothing to do with her race or gender. It has everything to do with her ineptitude."
Other critics have taken issue with Harris' reported complaint to argue that she has received much better media treatment than some of her predecessors or conservative female lawmakers. She had been placed on the cover of Vogue Magazine and sometimes enjoyed an assist from the press in fueling the narrative that Harris' naysayers are sexist and racist.
NBC's Peter Alexander was criticized for asking Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, if race and gender had played into criticism of the vice president.
"You’re a husband. When you see the attacks, when you see the criticism, what do you think?" Alexander asked.
"As the first woman, Black, South Asian vice president, do you think that your wife is treated differently because she’s a woman and a woman of color?" he asked in a follow-up.
Journalist Anushay Hossain penned a USA Today piece defending Harris, writing, "as the first black and first Asian and first woman to hold the second most powerful job in the country, she can't keep anybody happy. It's not possible." She expanded on that assumption during an appearance on MSNBC.
"Women and men aren't assessed through the same lens, and that's one thing we have to keep in mind whenever we're talking about the vice president," Houssain said, later adding, "But because she is a woman and a woman of color, the level of scrutiny that she is getting from both the left and the right is really off the charts."
Harris' political allies have also suggested she's been victim of a double standard.
"I know, and we all knew, that she would have a difficult time because anytime you’re a ‘first,’ you do,’" Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said. "And to be the first woman vice president, to be the first Black, Asian woman, that’s a triple. So we knew it was going to be rough, but it has been relentless, and I think extremely unfair."
Harris has not only been burdened with poor polling numbers. In recent weeks, high- profile members of her staff have announced their departures, fueling speculation that the vice president oversees a toxic work environment.