The awkward moment took place during a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw. The two leaders had been asked similar questions about the US accepting Ukrainian refugees or otherwise easing pressure on Poland’s strained humanitarian resources.
After the reporter had posed her questions, Ms Harris and Mr Duda looked at each other as if each expected the other to respond first.
When asked about the US relieving some of Poland’s rising Ukrainian refugee population due to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine, Mr Duda looked to Ms Harris, seemingly waiting for her response.
Ms Harris said: “Okay,” before laughing alongside Duda at the press stand.
The US Vice President continued to state: “A friend in need is a friend indeed,” before the VP, Duda, and the crowd of reporters joined in on the awkward chuckling.
The two leaders went on to confirm that there have been talks for the US to provide aid, and the VP assured reporters: “We will not send them back to what is a war zone.”
The moment was criticised by several social media users who slammed Ms Harris for laughing at a serious situation.
Journalist Tom Elliott tweeted: “VP Harris awkwardly starts laughing when asked about the Ukrainian refugee crisis.”
Foreign policy analyst Nile Gardiner also took to Twitter and fumed: “Kamala Harris is an embarrassment to the United States on the world stage. This is appalling.”
Benny Johnson of conservative group Turning Point USA tweeted: “Only Kamala Harris would find it appropriate to laugh when talking about the topic of Ukrainian refugees.”
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Former Donald Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos added: “Kamala Harris has been very consistent during her live remarks with Poland’s leader.
“She is awkwardly laughing. Again. Discussing refugees is no laughing matter. Why she laughs at this is deranged.”
However, other social media users came out in support of Ms Harris and said she did a “good job”.
A social media user Skylikeajedi tweeted: “Many of us watched this live and my question is did you not even watch the video your referring to? Because it’s clear that they BOTH laughed about who would speak first. And not about refugees. Stop trying to create a problem when there isn’t one.”
Another user DemsinArray also corrected the mishap: “This is a lie. They were laughing about who speaks first, given multiple translations. If you must resort to lies to smear @VP, you’re telling us all that she’s doing a damn good job.”
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However, her office said that the issue was taken “out of context”.
Herbie Ziskend, Deputy Communications Director to the Vice President of the United States tweeted: “No surprise: but this is wildly out of context. I was in the room. The @VP and President were laughing about who would speak first amidst simultaneous translations – they were certainly not laughing about refugees.
“As the @VP said today: the people of Ukraine have suffered immensely. And the moral outrage we feel when we look at what is happening to innocent men, women, children, grandmothers, and grandfathers who are fleeing everything they’ve known compels us to act.
“Which is why today, the @VP announced additional funding to support innocent civilians affected by Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine.”