‘Optics appalling’: Harris mocked for lack of self-awareness after posting Asian trip photo

A photo Vice President Kamala Harris posted of her departing late Friday night for Asia is once again earning her derision and mocking online for its “lack of self-awareness” given the timing of her trip and the still-chaotic situation in Afghanistan.

Harris landed Sunday in the city-state of Singapore, located on the southern tip of Malaysia, on the first leg of a trip that will include a stopover in Vietnam. The purpose of the trip, according to reports, is to convey to both countries the Biden administration’s views regarding China’s rising influence and power in the region.

After departing Friday night, Harris landed for refueling stops aboard Air Force Two in Alaska and Japan before arriving in Singapore where she was met by Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

In addition to talks about China’s rise, Harris is expected to address Beijing’s attempts to dominate the South China Sea, one of the principal shipping lanes in the world where trillions in goods pass annually.

Harris is scheduled to talk to Singapore President Halimah Yacob by phone and will also meet with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, reports said. Harris will also take questions from the press along with the prime minister.

On Tuesday, Harris is scheduled to give a speech aimed at explaining how the Biden administration will focus on Southeast Asia, and will follow that up with discussions about supply chain concerns and issues with regional leaders.

Later Tuesday, Harris will then travel to Vietnam, the leg of her trip that has drawn the most criticism online as Afghanistan collapses back into Taliban control, the chaotic withdrawal already having drawn appropriate comparisons to the dramatic and turbulent manner in which the U.S. pulled out of then-Saigon, South Vietnam in 1975.

“Best way to escape comparisons to Vietnam… is to just go to Vietnam,” GOP communications specialist Matt Whitlock wrote on Twitter.

“Just bothered by this tweet. The largest airlift in American history is going down right now. Reports of Americans being attacked by the Taliban. And you post a picture of yourself waving from AF2 on your way to SE Asia,” added William McNulty, a Marine vet and co-founder of Rubicon Global, a veteran-oriented disaster response firm.

“You’re not going to find the root causes of the border crisis there,” noted Heritage Foundation communications specialist John Cooper.

“We have issues is the US you should attend to. Js [Just saying],” wrote another user.

“Wishing you a safe productive trip but – respectfully – whoever thought of this needs to be reassigned. The optics of this is appalling given what is going on in Afghanistan. You need to tighten your team, they aren’t helping you at all. Safe travels,” added another user.

And possibly drop the cackle:

During a massive rally he held in Alabama Saturday night, former President Donald Trump ripped the Biden administration over the manner in which it staged the withdrawal from Afghanistan, reminding the tens of thousands in attendance that he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had established conditions with the Taliban.

““This will go down as one of the great military defeats of all time and it did not have to happen that way,” Trump said. “This was not a withdrawal, this was a total surrender, for no reason.”

Jon Dougherty

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