Along with not being a very good debater, Vice President Harris doesn’t do well at media interviews and pressers. She’s notorious for cackling at inopportune times – usually when inconvenient questions are asked, and is prone to epic gaslighting episodes which are usually called out in short order.
With that in mind, though troubling it hasn’t come as too much of a shock to see Harris largely avoid the press since Inauguration Day, and even more so since she was named as President Biden’s point person on the border crisis in March. But a new report from Atlantic writer Edward-Isaac Dovere further sheds light on Harris’ media avoidance strategy and, 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 is 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 look out 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.”
Are you freaking kidding me? This one of the lamest, most absurd, and self-defeating copouts I’ve ever seen in my life from a politician.
The left prides themselves on being able to declare “firsts.” Like the “first black president,” etc. They point to these as being evidence of significant progress in the push for wider recognition of minority groups. One would think that along with that distinction would come the responsibility that 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.
For all of the media’s criticisms of Trump when he was in office, one thing they couldn’t claim about him was that he made a habit of avoiding the press. Even if he didn’t have 50 formal pressers a year, he frequently took questions from them before and after events, on his way to Air Force One and Marine One, etc. because he loved the back and forth and the opportunity it presented for him to spar with some of his more vocal critics in the press corps.
Biden and Harris both have calculated media avoidance strategies – ones that were carried over from their campaign – that would have caused major eruptions in the press corps had Trump tried it. But because they’re Democrats they only get some obligatory whining from the media before it promptly stops once a bone is thrown in their direction – as was the case once Biden did his first formal presser over two months into his presidency.
For all of the bloviating we got from the Usual Suspects last year after Biden and Harris were declared the winners of the election on how “important” it was to see a “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?
While it’s true that a vice president is supposed to complement a president, and not seek to outshine them, they’re not supposed to be silent wallflowers, either, and they definitely are not supposed to hide behind their self-declared minority status. If anything, feeling there are those who “don’t understand” her should be a reason for Harris to be more out front in an effort to “correct’ the record (in the event such “correcting” is actually warranted). Isn’t not shying away from a challenge part of what being a strong, capable woman is supposed to be about?
That she’s not addressing the media and her critics more tells us one of two things (or maybe both): 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. Both of them are even more so, especially for someone who we’ve been told is a trailblazer.
Moral of the story? Sometimes “firsts” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.