Kamala Harris’ office confirmed to the Washington Examiner last week the news that two of the vice president’s top travel aides would be resigning in the coming weeks.
According to the Examiner, Karly Satkowiak, who serves as Harris’ director of advance, and Gabrielle DeFranceschi, who serves as deputy director of advance, will soon be leaving their posts at the White House.
In those roles, the two worked to make travel arrangements for Harris. The White House is now said to be looking for replacements.
“The height of the problem”
The vice president’s office claimed the departures had long been planned, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t raised suspicions, particularly as Harris just returned from a much-anticipated trip to the U.S.–Mexico border — one that critics had been begging her to make for weeks, but that ultimately fell flat.
As Breitbart noted, it was more than 90 days after President Joe Biden first tasked Harris with leading his administration’s charge to stem a recent surge in migration on the diplomatic front that the VP actually got her boots on the ground at the border. She had previously laughed off questions about when she’d make the trip, earning her the ire of Republicans and even some Democrats.
The criticism didn’t slow after her trip last week, as many said Harris avoided the parts of the border where the crisis is most severe.
“She’s going where the height of the problem isn’t,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, told Fox News ahead of Harris’ trip.
“Kamala, you need to go to McAllen. Kamala, you need to go to the Donna tent facility, which is the tent city your administration has built that is massively overcapacity, that has kids in cages,” the GOP lawmaker added, according to Fox. “You need to look at the children in cages that you and Joe Biden put there in a way that is endangering their safety and subjecting them to abuse and sexual assault.”
“A true picture”
Others have highlighted the fact that Harris’ trip was a brief one, particularly given the severity of the problem at the border. Still others, including Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, suggested the move was little more than political theater.
“I’m sure her planners told her that if you’re going to go down to the border, go to something that’s safer to go to, that is, politically safer,” Cuellar said Thursday, according to the Washington Examiner.
“The epicenter is down there in the Lower Rio Grande, the lower part of my district down there,” the Democrat added. “If you look at the numbers that are down there compared to El Paso, you’re not going to get a true picture of what’s happening.”
During her trip, Harris claimed that the Biden administration has made “extreme progress” on the border front, although she admitted that there is still “much more work to be done.” If Cuellar and Cruz’s accounts are accurate, that may be a bit of an understatement.