In a bombshell report first published by The New York Times, it was revealed that shortly before her recent trip to the El Paso, Texas area of the southern U.S. border, Vice President Kamala Harris’ office had announced the resignation of two of her top advance travel aides.
The two travel aides include Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFranceschi. Satkowiak was Harris’ director of advance and DeFranceschi filled the role of the vice president’s deputy director of advance.
According to the Washington Examiner, “[a]dvance workers plan the vice president’s travel and work with teams to prepare venues for Harris’ arrival.”
Questions about timing
Though Harris’ office claimed that their departures were long-planned, given the timing of the announcement of the two resignations, many have raised questions as to whether the departures were related to the criticism that Harris has received with regard to her recent trips.
Harris, after some 93 days and a sizable amount of criticism from both sides of the political aisle, finally made a trip to the southern U.S. border, where the immigration crisis continues to spiral out of control under President Joe Biden’s administration.
However, prior to her border trip, her travel plans seemed to take her virtually everywhere but the southern U.S. border, including trips to America’s northern border and even Central America, where she went to address the so-called “root causes” of the immigration crisis.
Unfortunately for the vice president, who already struggles to impress millions of Americans and her critics in Congress, her recent trip to the El Paso border region didn’t appear to do Harris any favors, as she was widely criticized by media pundits for choosing that particular area of the border to visit.
Harris was criticized for her brief stay, especially given the fact that it included a visit to only one detention facility where she made a short speech. The vice president also took heat for choosing a much less hectic area where the immigration crisis doesn’t appear to be quite as bad as, say, the Rio Grande Valley region, where the crisis is said to be significantly worse.
What we know
According to Harris’ office, Satkowiak’s and DeFranceschi’s resignations were not unexpected. The Examiner reported that a spokesperson for Harris’ office said the resignations were already in the works long before her border trip, though it’s unlikely that her office would have admitted otherwise if that wasn’t a truthful statement.
As of this writing, Harris’ office is reportedly seeking replacements to fill the roles left vacant by Satkowiak’s and DeFranceschi’s departure, according to Breitbart.
Specifically, her office sent out an email to current and former aides and staffers indicating that its searching for “advance associates,” which, according to reports, are “unpaid volunteers who will help manage the vice president’s travel.” According to Breitbart, Harris’ office has been seeking volunteers since before her trip to Central America and Mexico.
In other words, on the surface, it would appear as if Harris is struggling to find volunteers, which is presumably not commonplace in Washington D.C., given that even an unpaid volunteer position with a sitting vice president would typically have willing, ambitious applicants lined up around the corner for a shot at adding such a high-level gig to their resumes.