As the Biden administration continues its tailspin in handling the ongoing Afghanistan crisis, Vice President Kamala Harris jetted out on August 20 on a trip to Vietnam and Singapore. Administration officials said the trip would focus on economic, health, and security issues.
In Singapore, Harris will meet with President Halimah Yacob and plans to deliver remarks from a U.S. Navy ship describing plans for ongoing U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, she will visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She will also stop off in Hawaii to see American troops stationed there.
Before Harris left, an administration official told the press that the White House is committed to keeping a free and open Indo-Pacific area. Harris will help promote that objective.
Just before leaving Washington, Harris appeared for a photo opportunity beside President Biden as he attempted to defend his administration’s management of the situation in Afghanistan. An administration official said that Harris would constantly contact Washington while she is away, saying, “we can do more than one thing at a time.”
As she was heading out on the trip, Donald Trump, Jr. commented on Twitter that the vice president is going to the wrong Saigon.
Another White House official told a reporter that the administration did not want to get bogged down in the comparisons between the Afghanistan crisis and the fall of Saigon in 1975 at the end of the war in Vietnam. The official continued by saying that the administration is not focused on the history of the war in Vietnam.
When the decision to remove all U.S. military forces from Afghanistan was taken earlier this year, Harris boasted that she was the last person in the room with the president. She played up reliable gender and race identity politics. She carried a great sense of responsibility to voice those who have not traditionally been in the room.
When Harris first entered the Senate in 2017, she voted for a bill that would have repealed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, issued after the September 11 attacks.