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Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone March 14, 2022

No, Kamala Harris didn’t defer to Polish president on gas prices

If Your Time is short

  • Vice President Kamala Harris held a joint news conference in Bucharest on March 11 with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. 

  • An Associated Press reporter asked each of them a question. The one to Harris was about gas prices.

  • The two leaders paused to determine who would answer first.

There was an awkward pause when Vice President Kamala Harris was asked how long Americans should expect to be paying record-high gas prices in a news conference on March 11.

But the reason for the pause is not the one being portrayed by people who are sharing an edited video clip of the event to criticize the vice president.

"Here’s Kamala Harris with really no answers about gasoline prices," Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo said to her guest, former Trump adviser Stephen Miller, on "Sunday Morning Futures" on March 13. "Watch how she responds, look."

Bartiromo plays a clip where a reporter asks Harris how long Americans should be bracing for "historic inflation and some unprecedented gas prices." There is a pause as Harris and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis look at each other for a moment before Harris begins speaking.

Miller was incredulous.

"It was a heart-stopping moment. She was asked about gasoline prices and inflation in America and she tried to defer to President Duda, the Polish president," Miller said. "It is truly horrifying to think that the vice president of the United States lacks confidence so extremely on our domestic issues that she wants the president of Poland to discuss our gas prices and our inflation. And then she starts stammering about the Black Sea and reading her notes"

Miller gets two things wrong in his comments.

First, he mixes up the presidents of Romania and Poland. Andrzej Duda is the president of Poland, who Harris met with on March 10. A video clip of that news conference was discussed first in the "Sunday Futures" segment, and Bartiromo and Miller criticized Harris for laughing after a question about refugees.

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In the second video clip Bartiromo played for Miller, Harris was holding a joint news conference on March 11 with Iohannis. Miller, apparently thinking the clip was from the first news conference, then references the Polish president instead of the Romanian one.

Secondly, Aamer Madhani of the Associated Press asked two questions, one first for Iohannis of Romania and one for Harris. The video edited out the first question about the threat Romania faces in the Black Sea from Russia and what help he was seeking from Harris. His second question, addressed to Harris, was about gas prices and inflation.

The awkward pause came as Harris and Iohannis looked at each other to determine who would answer first, not because Harris was deferring to a foreign leader to answer the gas price question, as Miller falsely alleges.

Harris, a transcript of the news conference shows, said the leaders discussed a range of topics, including the Black Sea, which she said Iohannis could discuss in more detail. The Fox News video then cut off the rest of her answer before Miller launched into his criticism.

Harris went on to discuss the situation in Ukraine before vaguely addressing the question about inflation and gas, saying "The President did say in the State of the Union, there is a price to pay for democracy. Got to stand with your friends."

Our ruling

Miller said that Vice President Kamala Harris tried to defer to the Polish president when asked a question about high gas prices in the U.S.

He’s wrong on both counts. Harris was speaking in a joint news conference with the president of Romania, not the Polish president. And the video clip played before Miller’s criticism edited out the first part of the question to Iohannis. The two leaders paused to determine who would answer first, not because Harris wanted him to answer about U.S. gas prices.

We rate this claim False.

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No, Kamala Harris didn’t defer to Polish president on gas prices

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