VP Kamala Harris says US will be 'off the map as a role model' if voting rights bill is sunk

Harris' interview with CBS' Margaret Brennan produced several controversial moments

In her wide-ranging interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan on Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris said America would lose its "role model" status if Congress fails to pass voting rights legislation.

With Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., essentially ending President Biden's chances to pass Build Back Better, the administration appears to be pivoting to other policy areas. Harris was tasked with spearheading voting rights over the summer.

"In the days and weeks ahead, I will engage the American people, and I will work with voting rights organizations, community organizations, and the private sector to help strengthen and uplift efforts on voting rights nationwide. And we will also work with members of Congress to help advance these bills," the vice president said in June, claiming that voting rights were "under assault."

She urged lawmakers to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

KAMALA HARRIS CITES 'NOT GETTING OUT OF DC MORE' AS HER 'BIGGEST FAILURE' AS VP

In her latest comments on her voting rights mission, she warned Americans that if Congress doesn't get it together on the bill, the country will be kicked down off its pedestal.

"We have been a role model saying, 'You can see this and aspire to this and reject autocracies and autocratic leadership,'" Harris said in a pre-recorded interview with Brennan, which aired on Sunday. "Right now, we're about to take ourselves off the map as a role model if we let people destroy one of the most important pillars of a democracy, which is free and fair elections."

Politco failed to name the radio station in which callers are allegedly looking to smear the vice president.  

Politco failed to name the radio station in which callers are allegedly looking to smear the vice president.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Harris added that while most Americans likely don't see voting rights as an "urgent" matter, the more the administration spotlights it, the more people will realize that some are "suppressing the right of the American people to vote," she predicted.

The Harris-Brennan interview made several headlines on Sunday. For instance, Harris fired back at Democrats who claimed she's being "set up to fail." 

"No, I don't believe I'm being set up to fail," Harris said.

"I'm the vice president of the United States," she continued. "Anything that I handle is because it's a tough issue, and it couldn't be handled at some other level. And there are a lot of big, tough issues that need to be addressed, and it has actually been part of my lifelong career to deal with tough issues - and this is no different."

President Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris shake hands during a ceremony to sign the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Nov. 15, 2021. 

President Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris shake hands during a ceremony to sign the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Nov. 15, 2021.  (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

HARRIS FIRES BACK AT DEMOCRATS' CLAIMS SHE'S BEING ‘SET UP TO FAIL’

She similarly raised eyebrows when she told Brennan that her biggest failure in office so far is her lack of travel.

"What do you think, as you come to the end of this first year, what do you think your biggest failure has been at this point?" Brennan asked.

"To not get out of D.C. more," Harris said, laughing. 

"I mean, and I actually mean that sincerely for a number of reasons," she added. "You know, I, we, the president and I came in, you know, COVID had already started. It was, the pandemic had started. And when we came in we really couldn’t travel."

Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris tours the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) training facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sept. 7, 2020. 

Democratic U.S. vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris tours the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) training facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sept. 7, 2020.  (REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski)

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Harris also recently had a disastrous interview with Charlamagne Tha God, in which she lost her temper at the TV host after he suggested Biden was not the person in charge at the White House.

Harris' off-putting personality during interviews she's granted during Biden's first term may account in part for her historically low approval numbers. She has blamed race and gender for the negative media coverage, according to recent reports. 

High-profile members of her staff have also headed for the exits in recent weeks amid reports of a toxic work environment.