Vice President Kamala Harris canceled her planned trip to stump for embattled California Gov. Gavin Newsom ahead of his recall election just hours after it was reported that at least 13 American service members in Afghanistan were killed.
Harris was originally scheduled to appear with Newsom at the Stop the Republican Recall car rally at the historic Cow Palace outside of San Francisco on Friday in an effort to increase Democratic turnout in the September 14 election.
But as the vice president made her way back from a trip to Singapore and Vietnam, her spokeswoman, Symone Sanders tweeted she would be heading back to Washington D.C. after visiting Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Thursday afternoon.
A short while later, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Newsom’s campaign spokesman Nathan Click announced the rally was canceled, even though the details of the logistics for the scheduled drive-in event had been unveiled.
It is unclear whether it will be rescheduled, amid reports of tight polls between Newsom and his Republican rivals, with radio host Larry Elder currently believed to be the strongest challenger.
Vice President Kamala Harris has canceled her trip to stump for California Governor Gavin Newsom, right, ahead of the September 14 recall election in the wake of American soldiers’ deaths in Kabul
Her spokeswoman confirmed on Twitter that after she visited Joint Bas Pearl Harbor-Hickam Thursday afternoon, she would return to Washington, D.C.
Harris, a former California Senator and Attorney General, was supposed to be the main draw of the campaign event, according to KTLA, as Newsom slips in the polls.
He was elected in 2018 with overwhelming support, but now only has a thin margin to keep his seat against a Republican-led effort to oust him for his handling of the COVID pandemic and the state’s worsening homeless problem, according to Mercury News.
Newsom sparked particular outrage last November when he was filmed dining inside the ultra-exclusive French Laundry restaurant while urging Californians to stay home.
In recent weeks, KTLA reports, he has tried to focus his messaging on women and voters of color, a group Harris is uniquely poised to speak to as the nation’s first female vice president, and the first black and South Asian person to serve in the role.
She had previously served as the state’s attorney general, before becoming a United States senator.
But as the chaos in Afghanistan continues to unfold, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a professor of public policy communication at the University of Southern California, said it may have been smart for Harris to cancel the trip.
She added that a visit from President Joe Biden, who White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said before the attacks would campaign for Newsom, could actually be a negative for the Newsom campaign.
‘I don’t see any reason, on either end, that it’s absolutely necessary, let alone positive, for the president to take time to go campaign for Gavin Newsom right now,’ she said.
Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff are pictured boarding Air Force Two in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 26 while en route back from her trip to Asia
Afghan officials said at least 60 Afghan citizens were killed and another 143 were wounded in the attack by ISIS-K
The Biden administration has been heavily criticized for its withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, leading to a quick Taliban take over, and causing panicked evacuations of thousands of Americans and roughly 100,000 American green card holders, allies and vulnerable Afghans desperate to escape Taliban rule.
Thousands more had packed around the airport trying to get on flights out when terrorists attacked the primary gate being used to access the area secured by U.S troops.
At least 13 US servicemembers were killed and 15 more were wounded in the twin bomb attacks Thursday outside the gates of Kabul’s international airport, where Marines were processing people attempting to board evacuation flights.
Afghan officials said at least 60 Afghan citizens were killed and another 143 were wounded in the attack by ISIS-K.
Newsom took the oath of office as lieutenant governor under Harris when she was the state’s attorney general. He had hoped to use her now to boost Democratic turnout in California’s September 14 recall election
Meanwhile, Newsom is continuing to face a tough race.
About one tenth of the 22 million registered voters have already cast ballots in the September 14 recall election, with Republican radio host Larry Elder leading in the polls.
If he were elected, he would become the state’s first black governor, though the heavily liberal state has not elected a Republican governor since 2006.
On a Tuesday campaign call, Black women leaders argued Newsom is a better ally to the black community than Elder, as Newsom warns his libertarianism and conservatism is wrong for the state.