March 26, 2023

Brother of detained American in Russia says he’s “hopeful” Biden will be able to help release him

United States Vice President Kamala Harris called on democracies to recommit to the principals that keep them healthy during pre-recorded remarks to the Brussels Forum on Tuesday.  

Harris echoed what President Biden has said multiple times during his first foreign trip this week, that “America is back,” and committed to reengaging with Europe to strengthen the transatlantic partnership.

But she also stressed that democracy has been under attack in the US and around the world, and that the strength of one democracy depends on the strength of all democracies.

“The truth is we face many shared challenges: the pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty, climate change, cyber threats, and the resulting security concerns, and, of course, the outright assault on democracy that is occurring around the globe,” Harris said.

“Democracies require constant intentionality, constant vigilance, constant effort. It is when we stop doing that work, when we neglect democracy, it is when we take democracy for granted, that the attacks are able to grow,” she added.

The Vice President also discussed the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, saying it was able to occur because of an undermining of basic facts and disinformation, “chipping away at public confidence in our press and scientists, our courts and our elections.”

“I will never forget the horror and the heartbreak of January 6, 2021, when our United States Capitol, a beacon of democracy for so many, came under siege by a violent mob who refused to accept the results of a free and fair election. It is not enough to say we cannot let something like that ever happen again. We must commit and recommit our democratic principles and lead by example. We must reinforce our democratic institutions to deliver real results and instill trust,” she said.

Harris said the world’s democracies must unite to address threatening challenges, like corruption, injustices and human rights violations. 

“And that is why wherever, whenever human rights are violated, we must stand together. Just as we did when the United States and the EU issued joint sanctions against China for abuses in Xinjiang. Just as we did when we stood up to Russia for its attack on Alexei Navalny … We must stand together for democratic principles,” Harris said.

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