Vice President Kamala Harris backed out at the last minute from her planned attendance at a rally at the Cow Palace in Daly City in support of Governor Gavin Newsom, dealing a blow to the "No" campaign in the upcoming recall election.
Harris had been traveling in Asia this week, and was scheduled to land in the Bay Area today to attend the rally — marking an appearance of the most high-ranking Democrat to date serving as a surrogate for Newsom in urging voters to vote against his recall. A longtime friend and colleague of Newsom's who served as San Francisco District Attorney when he was mayor, Harris and her team clearly made a political calculation that focusing on the California recall was inappropriate one day after 13 American soldiers were killed in a terrorist bombing at the airport in Kabul.
As CNN reports, after participating virtually in a Situation Room briefing on the attack on Thursday, Harris was scheduled to return directly to Washington without stopping in California as previously planned. She first made an appearance at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu on Thursday afternoon.
Harris issued a statement Thursday about the attack saying, "These courageous servicemembers died while saving countless lives. They are heroes. Our country is grateful to all our women and men in uniform, and in particular, those working today to get Americans and our Afghan partners out of harm's way. And we will complete that mission."
The "Stop the Republican Recall" campaign has said that both President Joe Biden and Harris would campaign on behalf of Newsom, but the situation in Afghanistan may curtail those efforts in the coming weeks.
Recent polls continue to show the "No" and "Yes" sides in the recall in nearly a dead heat, despite Newsom still enjoying high approval numbers overall across California. The election will therefore largely come down to awareness and motivating turnout among the Democratic electorate.
Democratic establishment leaders are urging California voters to "vote no and go," i.e. vote against the recall but do not respond to the second question about who would replace Newsom in the event that he is recalled. This is largely due to the fact that the nine candidates listed as Democrats on the ballot are all outside figures with little political experience, and voting for another candidate only serves to legitimize the recall effort — though many would argue it's also giving more voter percentage over to the equally unqualified and scarier Republicans in the race.
As Yahoo News notes, had Harris gone ahead with her scheduled appearance at the Cow Palace rally, she would have likely been barraged with questions about the attack in Afghanistan, and her message about voting against the recall would probably have been drowned out anyway.
Top image: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrives at the U.S. Capitol on August 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan group of senators finalized the legislative text of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill over the weekend and will now move on to the amendments process this week. The legislation will fund projects for improvements to roads, bridges, dams, climate resiliency and broadband internet. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)