Kamala Harris was all smiles as she made a surprise appearance at Washington DC‘s Pride event, days after returning from her Central America tour where she faced repeated questions over when she will visit the US-Mexico border.
Harris made history Saturday as the first sitting vice president to march in a Pride event as she and husband Doug Emhoff briefly joined the Capital Pride Walk and Rally.
They marched with the group for about a block, waving at other attendees before Harris gave a brief speech where she wished people ‘happy Pride.’
Harris sported a pink blazer over a t-shirt that read ‘Love is love’. Emhoff wore a t-shirt with rainbow lettering reading ‘Love first.’
Kamala Harris was all smiles as she made a surprise appearance at Washington DC’s Pride event, days after returning from her Central America tour where she faced repeated questions over when she will visit the US-Mexico border
Harris made history Saturday as the first sitting vice president to march in a Pride event as she and husband Doug Emhoff briefly joined the Capital Pride Walk and Rally
Harris spoke of the importance of equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community and the need to pass the Equality Act.
‘We need to make sure that our transgender community and our youth are all protected. We need, still, protections around employment and housing,’ she said.
‘There is so much more work to do, and I know we are committed.
‘So happy Pride everybody,’ she said, as listeners cheered.
The vice president and second gentleman were flanked by their Secret Service team who appeared not to be in such high spirits.
George Conway, cofounder of the anti-Trump political action committee the Lincoln Project, tweeted that the agents were ‘not happy’ at the event.
‘Secret service clearly not happy about protectee going for a walk,’ Conway wrote.
Harris also paid tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting on what was the fifth anniversary of the tragedy.
On June 12 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen murdered 49 people and wounded 53 others at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
They marched with the group for about a block, waving at other attendees before Harris gave a brief speech where she wished people ‘happy Pride’
Harris sported a pink blazer over a t-shirt that read ‘Love is love’. Emhoff wore a t-shirt with rainbow lettering reading ‘Love first’
It was the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ+ community in American history.
Mateem was shot dead by cops following a three-hour standoff.
‘Five years ago, 49 LGBTQ+ people and allies were enjoying an evening out at Pulse Nightclub,’ Harris wrote on Twitter.
‘And then, in an instant, they were gone. Today, we remember those who died and their loved ones-and we recommit to building a world free from gun violence.’
Joe Biden also issued a statement saying he will sign a bill naming the site of the nightclub a national memorial.
‘In the memory of all of those lost at the Pulse nightclub five years ago, let us continue the work to be a nation at our best-one that recognizes and protects the dignity and safety of every American,’ he said.
He pointed to the need for stricter gun control and for the passage of the Equality Act.
‘We must drive out hate and inequities that contribute to the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women — especially transgender women of color,’ Biden said.
Kamala Harris walks with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Tuesday.
They held a meeting in Mexico City on Tuesday with Harris saying she wants to focus on ‘root causes’ of the crisis. Harris’ tour to Guatemala and Mexico was panned by critics
Harris’ first international trip and the press conferences which took place miles away from the US-Mexico border
The Equality Act would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity across all 50 states in areas including housing, services and work.
At present, 21 states have their own non-discrimination protections in place but the other 29 have only partial or inadequate protections.
This lack of consistency leaves LGBTQ community members vulnerable.
The Biden administration has committed to making LGBTQ rights a top priority since taking office and is regarded as the most pro-LGBTQ administration in US history.
Earlier this month, Biden issued a proclamation recognizing Pride events.
‘During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically,’ the proclamation read.
‘In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America.’
So far, Biden has restored transgender healthcare protections and reversed Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
Harris is still yet to visit the border to see the conditions for herself and this overshadowed much of the trip, with several testy exchanges with journalists. Harris snapped at NBC’s Lester Holt Monday when he said she hadn’t been to the border
Harris’ visit to the Pride event comes at the end of a rocky week for the vice president as her first international tour was panned by critics.
Harris traveled to the Northern Triangle of Central America Sunday, first stopping in Guatemala and then Mexico Tuesday where she met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The trip’s focus was to tackle the migrant crisis along the US’s southern border, as record numbers of people crossed from Mexico into the US.
But Harris is still yet to visit the border to see the conditions for herself and this overshadowed much of the trip, with several testy exchanges with journalists over the matter.
Harris snapped at NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview in Guatemala Monday when he asked if she had plans to pay a visit.
‘At some point, you know, we are going to the border,’ she said.
‘We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.’
Harris and Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamattei (right) held a bilateral meeting in Guatemala on Monday
Harris waves alongside Guatemalan Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo upon arrival in Guatemala City on Sunday
Holt pushed back at this saying: ‘You haven’t been to the border.’
Harris fired back saying: ‘And I haven’t been to Europe.
‘And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making.’
It was a similar story in Mexico City Tuesday where she was forced to shield questions for a second day about when she would visit the border.
‘Why not go to the border, as well, so you do see the full complexity?’ a reporter asked.
‘Listen, I’ve been to the border before and I’ll go again,’ she replied.
‘But when I’m in Guatemala, dealing with root causes, I think we should have a conversation about what’s going on in Guatemala,’ she said.
The topic came up again later that day, with Harris saying it was ‘short-sighted’ to focus on the symptoms and said she was focused on the ‘root causes’ of the migrant crisis on the ground in Guatemala and Mexico.
‘I think it’s short-sighted, for any of us who are in the business of problem solving to suggest we’re only going to respond to the reaction as opposed to addressing the cause,’ she said.
Harris on Thursday spoke to Univision reporter Ilia Calderon, who grilled her about when she would be visiting the border. A visibly irritated Harris snapped at her for interrupting her
The vice president said the ‘bottom line’ is that the administration has to apply ‘equal weight’ to what’s going on at the border and ‘root causes’ in Northern Triangle nations.
On Thursday, the day after she returned from the tour, Harris had another snippy exchange with journalist Ilia Calderon from Univision who once again pushed her for an answer on when she would visit the border.
‘I’ve said I’m going to the border,’ said Harris, visibly irritated. ‘And I – ‘
Calderon, speaking via video link, interrupted and asked: ‘When are you going?’
Harris continued saying: ‘The administration has asked…’
She paused, hearing Calderon’s question, and pointed her finger while replying curtly: ‘I’ve not finished.’
She doubled down on the need to focus on the ‘root causes’ driving people to flee to the border.
When asked for a date for her trip to the border, Harris replied: ‘I will keep you posted.’
On Wednesday, Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei blamed Biden and Harris for the migrant crisis, saying their mixed and ‘lukewarm’ messaging had ‘created the opportunity to misinterpret.’
He told Fox he had ‘pushed back’ against the Biden administration saying they had created the crisis.
New images were taken June 8 of Central American migrants sitting on the ground after being apprehended by Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande River into La Joya, Texas on Tuesday
People ride rafts across the Suchiate River between Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico and Tecun Uman, Guatemala on June 7, 2021
Harris also infuriated the progressive wing of the Democrat party – including the likes of New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – with her trip when she warned migrants who try to cross the border not to come.
‘You will be turned back,’ she had warned.
White House insiders were said to be ‘perplexed’ by the vice president’s mixed messages on migration and snippy response to border questions.
‘It’s left some of the administration officials perplexed, and the vice president’s team frustrated,’ CNN reported Wednesday.
‘There was hope the trip would be a success, and in the end, they feel it may have been overshadowed by some of her answers to these questions.’
Reports also suggested Biden is sending USAID Administrator Samantha Power to Guatemala and Mexico next week.
But both Harris and the White House have publicly declared her trip was a ‘success’.
‘The trip was a success. Was there one moment in one interview that is taken out of context and being used? Yes, but she did what she came to do,’ a White House official told Politico.
Biden appointed Harris his ‘border czar’ back in March putting her in charge of tackling the surge of migrants who have been pouring into America in recent months
Data released on Thursday night says border crossings have surged 674 per cent in May 2021 compared to May 2020, levels not seen since 2006.
Authorities recorded 180,034 migrants crossing into the US last month.
That represented a slight increase over the approximately 178,000 migrants encountered in April, and the 172,000 encountered in March.