MSNBC host Joy Reid has blamed “white and male media” for Vice President Kamala Harris’ lackluster approval rating — because they have not allowed her to showcase her personality.
“She’s just a regular sister in the same way people would always say that Michelle Obama is like if your cousin became first lady. Kamala Harris is like if your cousin became VP of the United States,” Reid said in a recent interview with The Root.
“I think she doesn’t get to show that personality often enough, and so people haven’t had a chance to get to know her.”
Reid said the narrative that has been created in the news media around Harris since January 2021 — that of an ineffective politician with a penchant for flubbing her public remarks and creating awkward moments — does not reflect her true capabilities.
“Most of the media is still white and male,” the MSNBC presenter said. “And their take on Kamala Harris becomes the take. It becomes conventional wisdom.”
Reid has recently had a chance to sit down with Harris for an MSNBC special, “The Culture IS: Black Women,” which aired Sunday.
Harris, 57, made history when she became the first African American and Asian American woman to be elected vice president, but the honeymoon phase did not last long for the trailblazing California politician.
Last fall — less than a year into Harris’ first term in office — a USA Today-Suffolk University poll put her approval rating at a dismal 28%.
More recent polling by the Los Angeles Times shows that as of June 14, more than half (52%) of registered voters had an unfavorable opinion of the veep.
Harris has mostly stayed out of the spotlight in the wake of a cringeworthy interview with NBC’s Lester Holt last year, during which she was grilled about why she had not visited the US-Mexico border amid an immigration crisis.
Over the past few months, the VP’s office has been rocked by an exodus of staffers, most recently in April, when Harris’ chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, announced she was leaving, raising questions about the vice president’s leadership style.
At the same time, Harris has been subjected to an escalating campaign of sexist attacks on social media.
“The job she’s had is dead serious, and this time is so serious,” Reid said. “Think about her portfolio: voting rights, immigration and the border, and police reform. The things on her plate are the toughest things that the Biden administration has to deal with outside of inflation and the war in Ukraine.”
Reid noted that President Biden was able to secure the support of black female voters in 2020 after promising to choose a running mate who looked more like them.
“I think sometimes the cynicism of our politics makes us forget how important she is and what she represents for us,” the liberal commentator said.