Vice President Kamala Harris arrived back in Washington on Friday morning, after canceling plans to stump for embattled California Gov. Gavin Newsom to instead join President Joe Biden at the White House as officials monitor warnings of more bomb attacks in Afghanistan.
She was scheduled to join Biden’s national security team in the situation room a day after two suicide attacks killed 13 U.S. service members at Kabul airport.
Harris was originally due to appear with Newsom at a Stop the Republican Recall car rally outside San Francisco on Friday in an effort to increase Democratic turnout in the September 14 election.
It was to be the final leg of the vice president’s trip to Singapore and Vietnam, but the schedule was upended by the suicide bombing in Kabul.
After visiting Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Thursday afternoon, word emerged that the rally was canceled.
Instead Air Force Two touched down at Joint Base Andrews a little before 8am on Friday.
The vice president and her husband Doug Emhoff emerged wearing jeans and blazers before boarding Marine Two for the short hop to Washington.
She did not stop to talk to her traveling press pool and answer questions about the administration’s response to the killings.
Vice President Kamala Harris arrived back at Joint Base Andrews with her husband Doug Emhoff on Friday morning after abandoning plans to campaign in California for Gov. Gavin Newsom to help deal with the unraveling crisis in Afghanistan
In an at times emotional address on Thursday, President Biden promised to hunt down ISIS-K and make them pay after the terror group claimed responsibility for the double suicide attack
An ambulance is seen at the explosion site near the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, where dozens of Afghans were killed as they tried to find safe passage out of the country
Her spokeswoman confirmed on Twitter that after she visited Joint Bas Pearl Harbor-Hickam Thursday afternoon, she would return to Washington, D.C.
Top of the situation room agenda is likely to be how the U.S. can make good on Biden’s promise to make the killers of ISIS-K pay for the attack.
And they will have to decide how to respond to fears of more bombings as U.S. troops oversee the final phase of the Kabul evacuation.
‘For those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive, we will not forget,’ said Biden in an address at the White House a day earlier .
‘We will hunt you down and make you pay.’
He said he had already asked for ‘operational plans’ on how to attack the leadership and assets of the Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate.
In a Pentagon briefing, spokesman John Kirby said the evacuation operation was braced for more violence.
‘We are prepared and expect future attacks,’ he said.
It is unclear whether the rally will 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.
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 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.