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Harris drops "F-bomb" while encouraging Asian Americans to break down barriers

Understanding AAPI Heritage Month
Understanding the history of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 03:18

Vice President Kamala Harris let a profanity slip Monday as she emphasized the importance of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders breaking through the barriers they face.

Harris was participating in a conversation moderated by actor and comedian Jimmy O. Yang when he asked her what it means to be the first vice president of Asian descent and how that heritage has informed her views and role as a leader. Harris' mother was from India and her father was from Jamaica, and Harris herself has broken barriers as the first Indian-American vice president, first female vice president and first Indian-American U.S. senator.  

Harris gave a lengthy response in which she told the young people to not let others define them and their dreams based on limited views. That's something Harris said her own mother told her. 

"We have to know that sometimes, people will open the door for you and leave it open, sometimes they won't. And then you need to kick that f***ing door down," Harris said to cheers and applause from the audience. She laughed, adding, "Excuse my language." 

"We gotta make T-shirts!" Yang joked.

Public profanity in politics is not particularly unusual. When Joe Biden was vice president, he was overheard telling President Barack Obama that newly passed health care legislation was a "big f***ing deal." The Democratic Party even sold T-shirts based on the now-president's comment. 

At a rally over the weekend, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump led a crowd chanting "bulls***" in reference to his criminal trial in New York City. 

The vice president made her comments in a conversation at the annual Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Legislative Leadership Summit. The conversation was live-streamed on the White House website. The White House has been holding various events to commemorate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Harris and Mr. Biden will hold a reception Monday night to honor Asian Americans' heritage and contributions to the country.

Willie Inman contributed to this report 

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