VP Harris tells story of being barred from her office by Secret Service following fireplace mishap

March 19, 2023
Ben Marquis

Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on CBS' "The Late Show" with host Stephen Colbert this week and shared a few anecdotes about herself in that job that was perhaps more revelatory than she intended them to be.

One of the stories told by Harris involved her being barred by the U.S. Secret Service from entering her own vice presidential office due to a serious blunder committed by one of her staffers, the Conservative Brief reported.

The tale was meant to be light-hearted and an indication of how real life for the vice president can, at times, mirror events depicted on the satirical sitcom "Veep," in which actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus played a cluelessly inept politician serving in the vice presidential role.

Barred from her office by Secret Service

After both Harris and Colbert professed their love for "Veep" and the host asked if it was "accurate," the vice president replied, "There are bits of it that are actually quite accurate."

Harris then spoke of how one of her aides, due to the lingering cold weather in Washington D.C., had attempted to start a fire in the fireplace of the VP's office while Harris was away at a meeting, and said with her typical cackle, "But he forgot to open the flue."

"So Secret Service was like, 'Ma’am, you cannot go back to your office,' because there was smoke everywhere," she added. "But it was the sweetest gesture. So there are those moments."

Not from "Veep," but actually from "The West Wing"

The New York Post reported that while Vice President Harris had implied that her fireplace story was similar to something that might happen in an episode of "Veep," the outlet noted that the VP may have gotten her "cultural references" confused in that particular instance.

Such an incident never actually occurred on the award-winning HBO comedy, but something remarkably similar did, in fact, happen on a different White House-related TV program, "The West Wing," in which two White House advisers attempted to start a fire in a fireplace with a chimney that had been sealed shut since the 1800s.

The comparisons to "Veep" did not end there for Harris and Colbert, however, the Post noted, as the late-night host referenced the main character's frustrations with the "vague duties of the role" and asked Harris directly, "What’s the actual role on a daily basis as you have found it?"

"Well, I have the great privilege of serving with Joe Biden, who is the president of the United States," Harris said in reply, to which Colbert sarcastically quipped in reference to Biden's prior service as VP, "Does he understand what it’s like to be vice president?"

"He does, he does," she replied as she launched into a rambling word salad of a non-answer about how Biden was such an "extraordinary leader."

Called out gently for non-answer

"That’s an excellent answer and, uh, the question was, 'what’s the job of the vice president,'" Colbert said with a smirk, then added with a dose of sarcasm, "And your answer is part of the job, I’m guessing."

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