Back in April, Kamala Harris practically tried to take credit for the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, personally confirming to CNN’s Dana Bash that she was “the last person in the room” with Biden before the decision to withdraw was made.
Today, where is she?
In fairness, Joe Biden hid from the media as well, taking a quick break from his vacation to speak at the White House before quickly returning to Camp David without taking any questions. He did an interview with George Stephanopoulos, but I can’t imagine anyone at the White House was happy with Biden’s bumbling performance there. So, where’s Kamala? She bragged about her role in the decision to leave Afghanistan. She endorsed it. Why isn’t she making any public appearances?
Remember, this is the same administration that branded itself, unlike past administrations, as the Biden-Harris administration. In March, a “top White House communications team member” instructed all federal agencies to include her name in communications. “Please be sure to reference the current administration as the ‘Biden-Harris Administration’ in official public communications,” read the directive. For all intents and purposes, the Biden presidency has been treated like a co-presidency with Kamala Harris. For someone who was bragging about her role in the Afghanistan withdrawal a few months ago, she’s hiding even better than Joe Biden.
“There are women being shot in the street for not wearing a burka by the Taliban,” Vivek Ramaswamy, the author of Woke, Inc., told Fox News. “And we have the first woman [vice] president of the United States. America celebrated it. This was an opportunity for her to emerge on the global stage as a leader, to call out the Taliban for their treatment of women. And she didn’t do it. She’s been completely absent.”
Related: Why I Wasn’t Impressed With George W. Bush’s Statement on Afghanistan
“She knows how to lecture the United States about racism and misogyny and bigotry. And it turns out that’s about it,” Ramaswamy continued. “That’s about all she knows how to do. I think she’s totally lost on the job. I think she is in way over her head. She has been nowhere near this situation. And I’m sorry to say, for America, that may actually be a good thing. But it is sorry to see a wasted opportunity on the global stage.”
No one knows more about the symbolism of Kamala Harris being in the position she’s in better than the vice president herself, and her silence, especially in the wake of reports of Afghan women and children being killed at the hands of the Taliban and women being forced to marry Taliban fighters, cannot go unnoticed.
Kamala Harris has gone from bragging about her role in the decision to ditching Biden to fend for himself. While the decision is his responsibility, she owns it too.
But Kamala Harris seems more interested in plotting her ascension to the Oval Office. According to an exposé in Politico, she’s been “building relationships with a wide array of Democratic allies, which she could leverage in the administration — and a future presidential campaign.”
For sure, she’s trying to distance herself from the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, which has received bipartisan criticism in Congress. Even the media has been unusually critical of the Biden-Harris administration’s botched effort. But, she can’t divorce herself from the decision, so she clearly sees her best play is to step back into the shadows and let Biden be the public face of this disaster.
The big problem for Harris at this point is that she was historically unpopular even before Afghanistan fell. With her approval ratings already underwater, no matter how much she stays out of the limelight on Afghanistan, her approval is sure to suffer just as Biden’s has in the past week.