Not getting ‘out of DC more’: Is VP Harris right about ‘biggest failure?’

CBS News / FTN

Fact Box

  • Kamala Harris is the first female vice president of the United States sworn in on January 20, 2021. Previously, she was the US Senator for California, the second Black woman and first South Asian-American senator in history.
  • On December 26, Vice President Harris spoke to CBS News’ Face the Nation about her first year in office. She revealed her “biggest failure” in office was “to not get out of DC more” due to COVID-19. 
  • Vice President Harris was tasked with addressing the root cause of migration from Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) on February 2, 2021 with the Executive Order Root Causes Strategy
  • On November 8, 2021, USA TODAY and Suffolk University found that Vice President Harris had a 28% approval rating while President Biden had a 38% rating.

Curtice (No)

Vice President Kamala Harris stated that her biggest failure as VP so far has been 'to not get out of DC more.' While that can certainly be a problem if that's what she thinks her biggest failure is, she hasn't been paying attention to what is affecting this nation most: rising inflation, radicalization in education and COVID mandates, drug overdoses, record-high illegal immigration, and more.

Let's start with the southern border. President Biden put Harris in charge of the border crisis earlier in the year. Rather than do anything of substance, she chose to ignore it for as long as she could before eventually commenting about the 'root causes.' Only after being thoroughly chastised by the GOP and even some in the media did she finally make a late and hurried border trip. However, the border remains as big of a crisis as ever.  

Next, a significant number of her staff continue to jump ship in frustration, displaying an office in complete disarray. A Politico report used terms such as 'dysfunction' and 'rife with dissent' to describe Harris's office.  

And then there is COVID-19 and the administration's unconstitutional handling of it. Harris has said the Biden administration didn't see the Delta or the Omicron variants coming, that they were caught off guard. Even Dr. Fauci, who does have some credibility problems of his own, claimed, 'We definitely saw variants coming.' As a result of being 'caught off guard,' the Biden administration is scrambling to react to the rapid spread of the omicron variant.  

Each of these issues can and should be considered failures on a much grander scale than not getting 'out of DC more.'

Noah (Yes)

The Vice President of the United States' primary, informal responsibility is to make public appearances representing President Biden's agenda across the country and on the world stage. Early in the Biden administration, she was tasked with handling the border crisis. Unfortunately, it was over six months before VP Harris visited the southern border. US Rep. Cuellar of her own party went so far as to describe her as uninterested and uncooperative on the immigration crisis at our southern border. 

Furthermore, when Vice President Harris is traveling, trips within the United States have been primarily along the East and West Coasts and battleground states. Vice President Harris has noticeably neglected Middle America while emphasizing the importance of considering Americans 'who are 'directly impacted by' the work she does.' On this, she is correct, which is key to understanding her historically low approval ratings. If people cannot interact with her, they will not approve of the job she does.

While nationwide and global travel has undoubtedly been affected by COVID-19, Vice President Harris has not represented President Biden's agenda effectively in either area. Rather, her office has often been described as dysfunctional, among other negative statements from former staffers.

This contrast between what VP Harris knows needs to be done and what is happening on the ground has led to these low approval ratings. Vice President Harris needs to give more time to Middle America, as well as the problems that have been delegated to her; This necessarily begins with getting 'out of DC.'

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