Vice President Kamala Harris, on a weeklong trip to Asia, posed, on Wednesday, in front of a bust of the country’s former president Ho Chi Minh, a revolutionary who served as the nation’s leader for 25 years.
Harris spent the day in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, which is about 1,000 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City, the city that was formerly known as Saigon. Saigon was the site of a humiliating military defeat for America, which culminated in U.S. helicopters rescuing soldiers and embassy workers off rooftops as the city fell — remarkably like the situation now unfolding in Afghanistan.
Not surprisingly, Harris is not traveling to Ho Chi Minh City.
“The prospect of Harris visiting Vietnam at this particular moment raised the possibility of the worst photo op for an American in that country since Jane Fonda donned a helmet there in 1972,” Fox News wrote before her trip.
“When Harris arrives in Vietnam next Tuesday, after a stop in Singapore over the weekend, she will be the most senior Biden administration official to travel to Southeast Asia as the U.S. looks to support its allies in the region as they deal with China’s close proximity,” said Fox.
Harris’s trip drew mockery on social media.
“The VEEP writers could not have scripted this better,” wrote Sean Spicer, former press secretary to President Donald Trump.
the VEEP writers could not have scripted this better
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) August 18, 2021
“Vietnam 1975 and Afghanistan 2021, Trusting on you is big mistake!” wrote another.
Vietnam 1975 and Afghanistan 2021,
Trusting on you is big mistake! pic.twitter.com/S51sT92paw
— Omid Mirkhail (@omidmirkhail) August 17, 2021
“Going to Vietnam for an ‘America is back’ tour might not be the best idea right now for the Biden admin,” wrote another.
“Harris wants to get a better understanding of how helicopters can rescue diplomats from rooftops,” wrote another.
Harris has been outside the U.S. just once as vice president. In June, she visited Guatemala and Mexico in an effort to examine the “root causes” of the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The vice president has made a point of trying to appear engaged in the Afghanistan crisis, saying she was the last person in the room with President Joe Biden when he made the Afghanistan troop withdrawal decision. Biden “is acutely aware that it may not be politically popular, or advantageous for him personally; it’s really something to see,” Harris said.
On Tuesday, more than 7,000 miles away from Washington, D.C., in Singapore, Harris made headlines when she said it’s “time to start buying” toys. Addressing a roundtable of business leaders after delivering a speech, the vice president cited climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic as adverse effects on the supply chain.
“The stories that we are now hearing about the caution that if you want to have Christmas toys for your children, it might now be might be the time to start buying them, because the delay may be many, many months,” she said.
“So across the board, people are experiencing the issue. And, of course, the climate crisis is fueling a lot of this. When we look at the stronger typhoons that have disrupted shipping lanes and sea-level rise, which threatens port infrastructure as an example. So these are the many issues that are causing these disruptions,” Harris said.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Kamala Harris has not visited the U.S.-Mexico border as vice president. She traveled to the border in late June.