According to a Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday, 55 percent of likely voters say the former senator from California is either “not qualified” or “not at all qualified” to assume the duties of the presidency. By contrast, 43 percent consider Harris “qualified” or “very qualified” to be commander in chief.
The same poll found in April that 49 percent of likely voters said Harris was qualified to become president, though 51 percent of voters had an “unfavorable impression” of her.
The poll was taken between Aug. 12 and Aug. 15, as the Taliban embarked on its sweeping offensive across Afghanistan that led to the collapse of that country’s Western-backed government weeks before the deadline to remove US combat forces.
Harris has not held a public event since last week, when she cut short a meeting with CEOs to discuss the Biden administration’s childcare proposals in order to receive an intelligence briefing about Afghanistan.
Since then, she has taken part in at least four briefings with President Biden and his national security team, but has confined her public statements about Afghanistan to Twitter and did not appear at Biden’s side when he attempted to defend the withdrawal in remarks from the White House East Room Monday.
“For two decades, our courageous servicemembers put their lives on the line in Afghanistan. We will always be grateful—and proud,” she tweeted Monday. “Ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan is the right decision.”
On Tuesday, Harris tweeted: “We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago. Now, our mission is to get our people, our allies, and vulnerable Afghans to safety outside of the country.”
It is a stark contrast from April 25, when Harris told CNN’s “State of the Union” that she was the last person with Biden when he made the call to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan — and wholeheartedly endorsed the move.
“This is a president who has an extraordinary amount of courage,” Harris told host Dana Bash at the time. “He is someone who I have seen over and over again make decisions based on what he truly believes — based on his years of doing this work and studying these issues — what he truly believes is the right thing to do.”
On Thursday, Harris gave her first on-camera remarks in seven days, delivering a taped three-minute address to the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) virtual convention. She praised their work covering the COVID-19 pandemic as well as what she called “anti-voter bills that have been introduced in state legislatures across our country,” but made no mention of Afghanistan.
On Friday, Harris is scheduled to depart on her second overseas trip, this time to Singapore and Vietnam. She is expected to face close questioning about what the calamity in Afghanistan means for US policy toward China.
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