Drew Barrymore urged VP Kamala Harris to be 'Mamala of the country.' The internet recoiled

Drew Barrymore pleaded with Vice President Kamala Harris earlier this week for the politician to be a mother figure to the United States. That sentiment has since unleashed waves of backlash from multiple communities on social media.

In the Monday episode of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” the former child star welcomed the vice president to her single-couch set where — in front of an all-female audience — they shared their experiences of being part of a blended family. Harris, married to Douglas Emhoff, is the stepmother to Ella Emhoff and Cole Emhoff. However, she isn’t a fan of the “step-” title, she told Barrymore.

“We kinda don’t use the term ‘step,’” she explained, noting Disney’s often negative depictions of step-parents. “Their word for me is ‘Mamala.’ So they call me ‘Mamala.”

After Harris recalled growing her connection with her husband’s children from a previous union, Barrymore abruptly shifted the conversation. “I keep thinking in my head that we all need a mom,” she told her guest. “I’ve been thinking that we really all need a tremendous hug in the world right now.”

“But in our country, we need you to be ‘Mamala’ of the country,” Barrymore added, locking eyes with the vice president, who nodded her head.

Clips of Barrymore’s praise, and Harris’ subdued response, spread on social media, sparking memes and passionate reactions. By Tuesday, X (formerly Twitter) users saw Barrymore’s exchange as “cringe” material.

A representative for the “Drew Barrymore Show” did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.

“That moment a crazy lady asks you to be momala of the country,” one X user captioned a photo of Harris pursing her lips during the viral moment.

“Noooo she did NOT ask her to be the nations momala that’s insane,” tweeted another user.

For other social media critics, Barrymore, who is white, pleading to Harris, who has Black and South Asian roots, was more than just cringe-inducing. Several users accused the “E.T.” and “Never Been Kissed” star of evoking the racist mammy stereotype: a Black woman, usually enslaved, tasked with taking care of white Americans and their children.

“‘Momala’ is INSANE. Not it’s up to a black woman to rock us in her bosom and heal our wounds,” wrote an X user.

Lawyer Ann Olivarius said Barrymore’s query also perpetuates the double standard that “being ‘caring’ is an add-on job requirement for women,” regardless of career and position.

Barrymore’s “Mamala” comment also elicited strong social media reactions from across the political spectrum. Conservative media personality Tomi Lahren slammed the Democrat VP tweeting, “Kamala will never be our ‘momala.’ Cringe. “ A supporter of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ripped Harris’ “faux ‘leadership’” and challenged her experience with motherhood.

“This is the most pandering, fake, set-up to try to get the country to like Kamala Harris by the Biden Admin,” wrote another X user.

Another X user panned Barrymore’s “Mamala” remark, alleging that Harris and the United States administration are “complicit” in Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas, which has sparked pro-Palestine demonstrations on college campuses worldwide.

During Monday’s episode, Barrymore ended her controversial segment by taking Harris’ hands in hers as the host spoke about women supporting each other. “We need a great protector,” she told Harris.

The vice president responded with a few lines about the “true measure” of strength and power.

“If you ever want some indication, some objective indication of your individual power, see what you can do to help other people,” she said.

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