The White House doubled down on sending Vice President Kamala Harris to the Pacific amid the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, telling Fox News that the United States “has many interests around the world.”
The vice president’s trip includes a stop in Vietnam amid an Afghan crisis that many have compared to the fall of Saigon in 1975.
“There are no planned changes to the Vice President’s travel,” a White House official told Fox News on Wednesday. “She is being briefed regularly on the situation in Afghanistan and she and her national security team are actively engaged in White House and interagency discussions. While in Southeast Asia, she will continue to be briefed regularly and will remain actively engaged.”
The Taliban swept into Kabul on Sunday, storming the U.S. embassy, pouring into the presidential palace, and freeing thousands of terrorists who had been prisoners at Bagram Air Base. In a speech on Monday, President Biden blamed others for the fall of Kabul, suggesting that the Afghan army lost the will to fight.
Videos of U.S. military helicopters rescuing diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and photos of Afghans running behind planes in order to escape the Taliban evoked comparisons to the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese in 1975. These images also contradicted Biden’s confident prediction last month that “there is going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan.”
The East Asia trip will mark Harris’ second foreign mission. In June, the vice president visited Guatemala and Mexico seeking to examine the “root causes” of the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Biden had named her the “point person” on the border crisis.
In April, Harris told CNN she was the “last person in the room” when Biden decided to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Conservatives savaged Harris over her trip plans.
“The VEEP writers could not have scripted this better,” former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer remarked on Twitter.
“Honestly at this point I can’t tell if they’re punking us to see exactly how far they can push the tone deafness,” Donald Trump Jr., son of the former president, chimed in. “It’s like they’re screaming F U America!”
Monica Crowley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury under former President Trump, also expressed her disbelief.
“This can’t be real. Is NO ONE in this sham administration paying attention??” Crowley asked.
Fox News’ David Sprout contributed to this report.