As the southern border crisis rages, the Taliban regain control of Afghanistan, Dr. Anthony Fauci declaring Christmas may have to be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Democrats infighting over a $3.5 trillion social welfare bill, inflation spiking, supply-chains disrupted, and the U.S. possibly breaching its debt limit, our Vice President Kamala Harris is MIA.
On Friday, Ms. Harris took a stealth trip to Palm Springs, California, with the White House not disclosing the reason for her non-public visit. The following day she was gone. The trip confused some Biden allies, who have wondered why the former senator hasn’t been more present in President Biden’s effort to pass his embattled welfare bill on Capitol Hill.
On Sunday, Ms. Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff were pictured power walking in Washington, D.C. There was nothing on her public schedule all weekend long.
It’s not that Ms. Harris doesn’t have several high-profile tasks. She’s been put in charge of addressing the origins of the southern border migrant surge, expanding voting rights, increasing broadband access, addressing Black maternal mortality, racial inequality, promoting women in the workforce and is the leader of the Space Council.
No visible progress has been made on any of it. In terms of the Southern Border, things have worsened after Ms. Harris’ trip there in June and the Northern Triangle countries in May. This month, as many as 400,000 migrants could cross the border, nearly doubling the 21-year record reached in July under the Biden administration.
Ms. Harris has been keeping a low public profile, but when she does engage with the press, it’s often to a disastrous effect. Last month, she appeared for only about 10 minutes on ABC’s “The View” after two co-hosts tested positive for the coronavirus moments before her interview and had to be escorted off the set.
During her brief appearance, she said, “we’ve got to do more” to support the Haitian community, without further details. Regarding the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, Ms. Harris said every day she receives classified briefings about the hotspots around the world and threats to our national security, and the “United States has an obligation, and we as leaders have an obligation to appreciate that we are a global leader.” It was another non-answer.
Every time Ms. Harris opens her mouth, politically correct, vapid words come pouring out. Last week, when visiting a college, Ms. Harris didn’t push back against a student who accused Israel of committing “ethnic genocide.” Instead, Ms. Harris responded: “This is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard.”
Ms. Harris was immediately criticized, as many widely interpreted her comments as agreeing with the student’s characterization of Israel. No, it was just Ms. Harris trying her best to be woke and popular, using progressive buzzwords without thinking them through. Her team immediately had to go into damage control, reaching out to Democratic Majority for Israel, a prominent advocacy group, the next day, to “shore up relations with the pro-Israel organization,” according to Politico.
That seems to be the only thing Ms. Harris and her team seem concerned about: cleaning up her self-inflicted messes and improving her image.
After her disastrous interview with NBC’s Lester Holt in June, where she defended not visiting the southern border, saying she didn’t understand the question and “I haven’t been to Europe either,” and a Politico story detailing “low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust among aides and senior officials” within her office, she hired two veteran crisis communication experts in August.
So far, their strategy seems to be to keep her out of the limelight and let Mr. Biden manage the multiple crises’ his administration is facing. Absolutely no leadership on her part. So far, it seems to be working. This month, Ms. Harris’ poll numbers bested the president for the first time since taking office.
“My instinct is to say that so much fire has been aimed at Biden, Harris’s numbers have gone up by sheer virtue of being out of the spotlight,” Democratic strategist Christy Setzer told The Hill last week. “She’s not giving anyone fresh reason to dislike her, so her polling numbers revert to the mean, with the country about evenly divided on the Black woman in the No. 2 spot.”
And there you have it, Ms. Harris’ only credentials: being the first Black woman appointed as vice president, trying desperately not to mess up the moment. Don’t expect to see her anytime soon.
• Kelly Sadler is the commentary editor at the Washington Times.