Vice President Kamala Harris was interrupted during her speech on the bipartisan infrastructure deal in New York on Friday when a protester critical of the city's aging infrastructure shouted at her. Harris tried to keep her cool and pacified the heckler who was then taken care of by the officials.
The incident happened in the presence of a number of high-profile New York Democrats who were attending the speech, including Mayor Bill De Blasio, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Governor Kathy Hochul. The heckler, who was later identified as 23-year-old Jose Vega by DailyMail, was then escorted out by the security without any incident.
Cutting Short Harris
She was talking about President Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda and about "better health, better jobs and about families" to state that better infrastructure would have stopped people drowning in their basements in Queens during Hurricane Ida earlier this year.
However, all of a sudden the Vega, who was in the audience at the Edenwald YMCA in the northeast Bronx stood up and interrupted Harris' remarks. He pointed out that earlier action could have possibly mitigated the devastating effects of flash floods the city saw during Hurricane Ida.
Harris although a bit annoyed maintained her cool and briefly tried to engage with the man, telling him, "you are right, brother" and adding "you and I will talk after I give my comments, and I am happy to talk with you."
"Eight families drowned here in Queens. It could have been prevented if we had the right infrastructure," the heckler yelled. He was apparently referring to the 13 people who died last month from Hurricane Ida floodwaters, including 11 who drowned in basements.
Although Harris tried to sport a smile on her face she was caught on camera trying to raise her fingers and trying to tell the heckler to stop speaking. However, that didn't stop the man from voicing his opinion.
The man shouted: "Why aren't we [U.S.] working with the Chinese on their Belt-and-Road initiative?"
Harris said, "But right now, let's talk about the agenda that will include speaking to all people and allowing everybody to be heard, because that's part of what we want in our democracy. Everybody gets their chance to talk and everybody gets a chance to be heard."
Soon security official came in and stopped him from speaking further and escorted him out of the hall.
The man who later divulged his identity to the Daily Mail, told the outlet, "People aren't drowning because of global warming in Queens. They are drowning because of illegal apartments in Queens."
Vega is a South Bronx resident and works for the Diane Sare for Senate campaign. Sare is an Independent candidate challenging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for his seat in the upcoming 2022 election.
In September, flood waters surging into basement apartments killed 11 people throughout New York City. At least 13 people died in the city overall.