VP Kamala Harris isn’t a good debater, but she didn’t do well at the media interviews. She is infamous for laughing at the wrong time especially when some difficult questions are being asked.
Keeping in a view, Harris had avoided the press since Inauguration Day, and this avoidance increased when she called as President Biden’s point person on the border crisis in March. Atlantic writer Edward-Isaac Dovere’s report revealed Harris’s media strategy, to put it mildly, her approach would make Hillary “Enemies List” Clinton proud:
The vice president and her team tend to dismiss reporters. Trying to get her to take a few questions after events are treated as an act of impish aggression. And Harris herself tracks political players and reporters whom she thinks don’t fully understand her or appreciate her life experience. (She often mentions an episode in which a Washington Post reporter mistook the cheer of the historic Black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha for “screeches,” I was told.)
She particularly doesn’t like the word cautious, and aides lookout for synonyms too. Careful, guarded, and hesitant don’t go over well. But she continues to retreat behind talking points and platitudes in public and declines many interview requests and opportunities to speak for herself (including for this article).
At times, she comes off as so uninteresting that television producers have started to wonder whether spending thousands of dollars to send people on trips with her is worthwhile, given how little usable material they get out of it. But Kim Foxx, whom Harris mentored after Foxx became the first Black woman elected state’s attorney in Cook County, Illinois, said this is a learned reticence.
“There’s a reality of doing this work as a woman and a Black woman—and it often isn’t talked about a lot publicly—that there’s a presumed resilience around people who are first,” Foxx told me. “There is a celebration of what it means to break the ceiling and not nearly the conversation of what the cuts to your head look like.”
What jokes are being cracked? This one of the squarest, most ridiculous, and self-defeating excuses for a politician. The people want wider popularity among minority groups. You need to assert yourself as ANY politico would and show you can roll with the good, the bad, and the ugly occasionally thrown your way instead of hiding from it.
When Trump was in the administration of America, the most offensive thing was his habit of avoiding media. He didn’t make 50 formal pressers but he answered the questions after and before the events, on his way to Air Force One and Marine One, etc. because he enjoyed the opportunity it presented for him to spar with some of his more vocal critics in the press corps.
The interesting thing is Biden and Harris both have a strategy for media appearance that would have caused major eruptions in the press corps had Trump tried it. Last year, Usual Suspects both Biden and Harris wanted everyone to see the “first” like Harris becoming the first black VP, first female VP, what has this “first” actually brought to the White House beyond the type of mindless cheerleading for Biden that the media told us was wrong when they thought it was coming from Republican vice presidents?
Harris cannot be silent like a wallflower. If anything, feeling there are those who “don’t understand” she should be a reason for Harris to be more out front to “correct’ the record (in the event such “correcting” is warranted). Isn’t shying away from a challenging part of what being a strong, capable woman is supposed to be about?
She is avoiding media and critics are showing two things: She’s used to being coddled by a compliant press who are obsessed with left-wing “firsts” and avoids them as a way of punishing them for “not getting her” and/or she’s just winging all of this as she goes along and would rather avoid having to take pesky questions that would ultimately prove her critics right as to just how unsuited she is for the tasks she was given by President Biden. Either scenario is a bad look. The crux of the story is that sometimes “firsts” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.