Zelensky Ally: President Kamala Would Be a 'Tragedy'

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
March 10, 2022

A close ally of imperiled Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday blasted U.S. vice president Kamala Harris, whom the Biden administration has sent to Poland amid Russia's bloodthirsty invasion of Ukraine.

"It would be a tragedy if this woman won the presidency," former Zelensky press secretary Iuliia Mendel tweeted. Mendel was responding to a video of Harris smiling and laughing after a journalist asked a question about Ukrainian refugees. She later deleted the tweet for unknown reasons.

Harris is in Poland to reassure NATO allies that the United States will defend them in case of Russian aggression. But her efforts have hit "early diplomatic speed bumps," as NBC News wrote.

The Polish government this week proposed storing fighter planes at a U.S. base with the goal of eventually sending them to help in Ukraine's defense against the Russians. The Biden administration quashed any prospect of the deal on Tuesday.

Harris at a Thursday news conference with Polish president Andrzej Duda equivocated on what NBC called "the diplomatic rift" with Poland, one of the United States' closest allies in the war-torn region. A journalist at the conference also asked Harris and Duda a question about setting up a "permanent infrastructure" for Ukrainian refugees.

"OK," the vice president responded, looking at Duda. "A friend in need is a friend indeed." She then started laughing.

"Only Kamala Harris would find it appropriate to laugh when talking about the topic of Ukrainian refugees," conservative podcast host Benny Johnson tweeted alongside the video, prompting Mendel's reply.

Update 3:32 p.m.: This post has been updated to note that Mendel later deleted her tweet.