Landing in Nevada on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about the role of Gen. Colin Powell as the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs, first Black National Security Adviser, and first Black Secretary of State and how his service brought the United States into a modern era of representation. One reporter, however, wanted to talk about the fact that Powell died of COVID-19 complications despite being vaccinated.
"What is your message for Americans who know that he was fully vaccinated with COVID, who now remain skeptical about getting the vaccine, despite the fact that yes, did he have the cancer diagnosis as well?" the reporter asked.
"I don't think that -- what happens in terms of his health situation is exactly what the doctors have told us can happen, right?" said Harris, citing warnings about COVID being able to kill the immunocompromised and people who have preexisting conditions. "I think that today is a day to really reflect on the life of the man and his extraordinary service and not to politicize the efficacy of vaccines."
Harris spoke about the way that he was able to inspire so many young service members and "what his accomplishments meant as a reflection of who we are as a nation."
She said that she hoped it was the key takeaway from his life and leadership.
"Those barriers were not easy to break by any stretch," she said. "But he did it with dignity. He did it with grace. And because of what he was able to accomplish, it really did elevate our nation in so many ways. So, may he rest in peace."
Vice President Harris and President Joe Biden have asked Americans to wear masks and get the vaccine to help protect those with preexisting conditions and who are immunocompromised, like Gen. Powell. He had suffered from prostate cancer and then faced blood cancer, which is among the many conditions that make it difficult to fight off COVID despite being vaccinated.
See the statement below:
Kamala Harris on Colin Powell www.youtube.com