Vice President Kamala Harris’s newly hired communications director, veteran Democratic aide Jamal Simmons, is already apologizing for years-old tweets in which he asked why illegal immigrants weren’t being apprehended.
“As a pundit for much of my career I have tweeted a lot and spoken out on public issues. Sometimes I have been sarcastic, unclear, or just plainly missed the mark,” Simmons said in a Friday statement.
“I sincerely apologize for offending those who care as much as I do about making America the best, multi-ethnic, diverse democracy it can be. I know the role I am taking on is to represent the Biden-Harris administration, and I will do so with humility, sincerity and respect.”
Simmons also took to the social media platform for damage control, writing a similar apology.
In one resurfaced tweet from November 2010, Simmons wrote: “Just saw 2 undocumented folks talking on MSNBC. One Law student the other a protester. Can someone explain why ICE is not picking them up?”
“I’ll try this again,” read another tweet posted the same day. “Just saw 2 undocumented folks talking on MSNBC and have a serious legal question. Why wouldn’t ICE pick them up?”
“We shld harden borders & ease visas/find ways to bring undocumented into legal status/punish employers. My was common sense one,” Simmons insisted in a third tweet.
The messages drew attention from both sides of the aisle, with former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller remarking: “I agree with @JamalSimmons. If you break into our nation there must be deportation.”
Liberals viewed Simmons’ statement as grounds for removal from his new role under the Biden administration’s so-called border czar.
“This is @KamalaHarris’s new Communications Director. I don’t care if it was 12 years ago. I don’t care if perhaps he holds different views now. I don’t care. This should be disqualifying,” Washington State Democratic congressional candidate Stephanie Gallardo tweeted.
“Given his response to this, ‘sorry if you were offended I was just being sarcastic or perhaps missing the mark,’ it’s probably best if @VP looks elsewhere for her spokesperson,” Daily Kos Founder Markos Moulitsas wrote.
Simmons, 50, was tapped to join the vice president’s staff this week after a series of departures plagued the Harris team — including that of former communications director Ashley Etienne, who departed last year to pursue “other opportunities,” and Symone Sanders, who served as a Harris adviser and chief spokeswoman.
Simmons, who has nearly three decades of experience working in politics and with media outlets, has a history of critiquing both Harris and President Biden.
In a July 2019 Facebook post, he called Harris’ presidential campaign “listless” and “unfocused” and said Biden “seems more like a winged bird than the inevitable nominee.”
After Harris dropped out of the race in December, Simmons appeared on “Why You Should Care,” a news show produced by The Hill and said: “When Kamala Harris goes into a room, frankly sometimes when Joe Biden goes into a room you just don’t know what will happen in that room, what they will argue.”
Biden chose Harris in March of this year to help the US get a handle on the “root causes” of mass migration from Central America, South America and the Caribbean. However, she has repeatedly been slammed for her lack of action as historic numbers of illegal immigrants crossed into the US throughout 2021.
While the Biden administration’s immigration policies are lax compared to its predecessor, deportations have continued. In 2021, the administration deported roughly 62,000 migrants, compared to more than 185,000 the previous year, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.