OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Vice President Kamala Harris has just jettisoned from Washington, DC on a mystery trip to California where reporters were not permitted to travel with her.
As Democrats in Congress are arguing amongst themselves to get two key bills for Joe Biden’s agenda passed Harris took off to Palm Springs on a flight from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, The Washington Times reported.
“The vice president will remain overnight in Palm Springs and return to Washington, D.C., on Saturday,” the White House said of the trip.
Ms. Harris has no public events scheduled for the visit. Local Democratic officials in southern California told news outlets that they were not expecting to meet with the Vice President.
Her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, is scheduled to appear at two campaign events in Virginia on Saturday for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
“Welcome to Palm Springs, Madam Vice President! @KamalaHarris,” Palm Springs Mayor Christy Gilbert Holstege said on Twitter, though she did not give any reasoning for the trip.
— Christy Gilbert Holstege (@christyholstege) October 1, 2021
“Vice President Kamala Harris arrived at Palm Springs International Airport shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, though a White House spokesperson was mum on reasons for the non-public visit,” The Desert Sun said of the trip.
“The vehicle Harris rode in was escorted by city police around 7:30 p.m. off of Ramon Road. Fewer than a dozen drivers were stopped to allow the vice president’s caravan to pass,” it said.
The trip comes after Harris has come under scrutiny for her interaction with a student during a recent trip.
Kamala Harris’s office is trying to play clean-up after she was seen on video earlier this week when she appeared to nod her head when a student made derogatory comments about Israel.
Harris visited George Mason University to promote voter registration, but during the visit, she stopped by a class to take questions.
One of the students characterized Israel’s actions toward Palestinians as “an ethnic genocide and a displacement of people.”
In a video of the exchange, Harris was seen nodding her head, which is commonly a sign of agreement.
Now, Harris’s team is playing clean-up and trying to justify her actions.
Her team began reaching out to the heads of several leading Jewish organizations after those leaders reached out to the White House to express their concerns, two people with direct knowledge of the conversations said. Harris’ deputy national security adviser Phil Gordon and Herbie Ziskend, the vice president’s deputy communications director, led the outreach, the sources said, making clear that Harris’s silence did not equate agreement with the students’ claims of “ethnic genocide.”
Harris’ team reached out to the heads of at least three organizations: the Democratic Majority for Israel, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Anti-Defamation League.
“This was touching base with her friends and allies and supporters who know that she’s very strong in her commitment to defending Israel and defending Israel’s security,” the source familiar with Harris’ added.
In a statement, Harris’ spokeswoman, Symone Sanders said, “The vice president strongly disagrees with the student’s characterization of Israel.”
“Throughout her career, the Vice President has been unwavering in her commitment to Israel and to Israel’s security. While visiting George Mason University to discuss voting rights, a student voiced a personal opinion during a political science class,” Sanders said.
“There’s a recognition that the impression left by her failure to correct the student is problematic and does not reflect her commitment to a strong US-Israel relationship, nor that of the President and the Administration,” William Daroff, the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told CNN.