The White House broke out the blue pencil after Vice President Kamala Harris issued a call to “reduce population,” editing the official transcript to say “pollution,” although some conservatives saw it as a Freudian slip.
Ms. Harris told an audience at Coppin State University in Baltimore that the Biden administration’s goal of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030 would benefit the environment and public health.
“When we invest in clean energy and electric vehicles and reduce population, more of our children can breathe clean air and drink clean water,” Ms. Harris said in the Friday speech.
The White House crossed out “population” and replaced it with “pollution” in the online transcript, but not before the Republican National Committee posted the video clip on social media, spurring alarm on the right.
“Are you the population she wants to reduce?” asked Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican.
Sen. Eric Schmitt, Missouri Republican, tweeted: “VP @KamalaHarris says the quiet part out loud regarding her and other climate alarmists very anti human ideology and their desire to ‘reduce population.’”
Calls for “zero population growth” surged on the left after the publication of the 1968 book “The Population Bomb” by environmentalist Paul Ehrlich, but the movement became associated with mass human rights abuses such as female infanticide after China adopted its “one-child policy” in 1979.
The program officially ended in 2016 when China raised the limit to two babies, later increasing it to three over concerns about its aging population and shrinking workforce.
🚨 CLEAN UP ON AISLE KAMALA https://t.co/vlUHM6vmxC
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 14, 2023
Alex Epstein, author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” tweeted: “As PJ O’Rourke said, the philosophy of those who want to reduce population is: ‘Just enough of me, way too much of you.’”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, tweeted: “Abortion? Assisted suicide? Or what means are you suggesting to reduce population in [order] to help public health?”
The incident comes with the gaffe-prone Ms. Harris increasingly viewed as a political liability as she and President Biden seek reelection in 2024.
Ms. Harris was already being mocked as “bathroom czar” for taking a stand Wednesday in favor of bigger airplane restrooms, alluding to the Department of Transportation’s proposed rulemaking for commercial airlines aimed at accommodating larger and disabled passengers.
“Failed Border Czar becomes Bathroom Czar,” tweeted Rep. August Pfluger, Texas Republican.