President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a disaster and we all can see it. What we did not see throughout this foreign policy debacle was Vice President Kamala Harris. Normally on the big issues of the day she is quick to take on a very public leadership role, but with Afghanistan her desire to be a team player turned into a desire for political self-preservation. Harris has been hidden away. The question is why?
One answer could be because of her tanking poll numbers. The heir apparent to the Biden throne has seen a series of bad polling numbers indicating that she is not connecting with the American people.
A new poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports indicates that 55% of likely voters feel Harris is not qualified or not qualified at all to be President of the United States. The Los Angeles Times reports that as of Aug. 17, 49% of registered voters hold an unfavorable opinion of Harris.
These numbers are not good for Harris because they are connected to her increased policy profile. As the “border czar,” she has failed to show any real leadership to make any difference on the border. In fact, the border crisis has just gotten worse. Harris is stepping back and hiding because she does not want to be tied to the latest Biden-Harris crisis. The problem for her is that by hiding, she is actually creating a bigger spotlight for herself. As our first female Vice President, Harris committed to upholding the rights of women and girls around the world. She needs to uphold this commitment by speaking out about Afghan women who will suffer under the Taliban.
A record number of women and children have been killed or wounded in Afghanistan this year. Taliban fighters reportedly entered a home and started to lynch women after they refused to marry the group’s fighters. Girls as young as 12-years-old are being dragged from their homes to marry Taliban fighters. Taliban commanders have demanded that unmarried women be turned over to become “wives” for their fighters. They have not had a strong, outspoken champion in our first female Vice President so far.
Kamala Harris’ silence does not create any solidarity with the thousands of Americans who are stuck in Afghanistan, or those translators who worked with America to keep the peace and help with much-needed intelligence gathering. Haji, an Afghan interpreter for the United States, said “if [the Taliban] find me, they will kill me and they will kill my family.” An Afghan interpreter for the U.S. Army has already been beheaded by the Taliban, and many others fear they will be hunted down too. Afghans that helped America and our military are being executed in the streets, with Taliban fighters equipped with “kill lists” of Afghans to hunt down.
The problem for Harris is that it’s too late to separate herself from Joe Biden’s failures. After all, this is the same woman that called him out for his overt bigotry and said she sided with the women who accused him of assault. Yet she still accepted the call to serve as his running mate.
This is the same person who, back in April, was confident about Biden’s Afghanistan policy when CNN’s Dana Bash asked her directly if she was the last person in the room when the decision was made to formally withdraw U.S. forces out of Afghanistan. Harris said she was the last person in the room and praised his actions.
Furthermore, Biden said “When I agreed to serve as President Obama’s running mate, he asked me a number of questions most important, he said to me, he asked me what I wanted most … I told him I wanted to be the last person in the room before he made important decisions. That’s what I asked Kamala. I asked Kamala to be the last voice in the room.”
It is too late to now try to hide from this botched foreign policy disaster that will undoubtedly end in death and destruction. Kamala Harris wanted to be attached to Biden. In fact, the White House has gone out of its way to refer to it as the Biden-Harris administration and not just the Biden administration. Since they are a package deal she has to accept full responsibility for the failure.
If the Harris team thought having her continue with her overseas trip to Vietnam would somehow help keep her out of the spotlight of the Afghanistan crisis, think again. Images of stranded Americans being airlifted from the U.S. embassy in Saigon in 1975 are already being compared to Americans being airlifted from Kabul. The chaos of Kabul will follow Kamala Harris all the way to Vietnam, breathing new life to the comparison between Saigon and Kabul.
Kamala Harris was the last one in the room, she knew and endorsed Joe Biden’s actions. This will always be a part of her own failed policy legacy as much as President Biden’s. She can run from it and try to hide from it, but the crisis in Kabul will follow her. The crisis on the border will follow her. Failed leadership does not reap positive results. Things just get worse. So many Americans and now Afghans are suffering because of her poor leadership and failed policies.
Paris Dennard is the National Spokesperson and Director of Black Media Affairs for the Republican National Committee (RNC). Follow him on Twitter: @PARISDENNARD.