As she embarked on a diplomatic jaunt to Guatemala on Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris experienced a bit of a scare when Air Force Two was forced to make an abrupt return to Joint Base Andrews a mere 25 minutes after takeoff due to an unspecified “technical issue,” as Fox News reported.
According to Reuters, the aircraft carrying Harris made an unplanned trip back to Maryland to address the concern that fortunately did not present any serious safety risks to President Joe Biden’s second in command.
After disembarking from the plane, Harris reassured worried reporters by saying, “I’m good, I’m good. We all said a little prayer, but we’re good.”
Harris pokesperson Symone Sanders indicated at the time that the vice president would simply switch aircraft and continue with her planned itinerary without significant delay, and sure enough, Harris ultimately arrived safely in Guatemala City, where she was greeted by that nation’s foreign affairs minister, Pedro Brolo.
— SDS (@SymoneSanders46) June 7, 2021
The trip marks Harris’ first foreign travel since taking office and is a key component of her continuously-evolving role as the president’s point person for tackling the “root causes” of the migrant crisis that has plagued the nation’s southern border for months.
The vice president has thus far declined to visit states such as Texas and Arizona, where local populations and law enforcement agencies have suffered serious fallout from the record-setting influx of undocumented arrivals. She has also failed to hold a press conference to discuss administration strategies for handling problems stemming from the president’s reversals of Trump-era policies, key omissions that have prompted substantial derision from Republicans as well as some members of her own party.
Attempting to shift the nation’s focus away from overcrowded detention facilities and the pleas of overwhelmed border enforcement agents, Harris has claimed that her attention will instead be trained on issues such as climate change, food insecurity, and economic instability in Central America she argues are major drivers of mass migration.
While there is much room to criticize Harris over her apparent lack of interest in finding real solutions to the far-reaching consequences of unchecked illegal immigration, the fact that whatever technical issue forced her flight’s emergency return did not pose a serious threat to her safety or that of those traveling with her was welcome news indeed.