Kamala Harris Stumbles Again on the World Stage: She did it again.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke and didn’t make any sense.
This time it happened in Ghana during a news conference with the country’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on March 27.
She delivered what her critics call a “word salad.” This is a common occurrence with Harris. It means she talks in circles and repeats herself in a way that makes people wonder if she is adequately prepared for her public appearances.
What Is the Latest Problem?
“There are a number of things on the issue of the economy as a whole that we must do … and a lot of that work is the work that I am here to do on the continent,” she said.
She could have condensed these words into a simple, declarative sentences such as, the “The United States will help improve Ghana’s economy.” Long meandering and repetitious sentences are not needed.
Harris was in Ghana to show solidarity and build diplomatic relations with Ghana, a key ally in West Africa.
The United States’ goals in the region, according to the State Department, are to promote economic development, trade relations, and democratic capacity building. America wants to advance an effective security partnership with Ghana by enacting military exchange programs to keep terrorism under control and increase the ability to prepare against any type of counter-insurgency movements in that part of Africa.
Kamala Harris: Words That Are Wasted
Kamala Harris was not able to specifically articulate these goals. She added: “As you have mentioned, we have had today, this afternoon, a wide-ranging discussion. We have discussed a number of important topics.”
What were the important topics? It is not hard to recount and summarize the issues for the media and for the people of Ghana. That is exhibiting basic public speaking principles. Her job is to send a message on the exact aspects of U.S. support that the Biden administration wants to execute.
Is She Studying Her Briefing Book?
For every public appearance, the vice president is given a briefing book. She had ample time to study it on a flight from Washington to Ghana. That’s an all-day trip with plenty of downtime to examine the materials.
I have staffed many politicians, and the way I would prepare the VP is by using a systemic and organized set of briefing papers that would help her make a compelling story to reassure our allies in Africa.
The first step is to include all of the bios of the people she is going to meet in Ghana. This starts with the president of the country. It is easier to make a good impression with someone when you memorize their bio. One must make personal connections in these situations.
Then you divide the book into separate sections: Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military, Economics, and Politics. This is called DIME-P. Each of these sections has specific examples about the country. These are written in bullet point form and are easy to navigate and memorize. You then simply give the book to Harris and allow her to study it on the plane ride. Harris is a former prosecutor, and she should be able to take this background information and make a strong case for U.S. support and relations with Ghana.
It is not clear if Harris is given a briefing book like this or if she is doing the prep work necessary for success.
She Keeps Having Problems
The Ghana flub is not the only word salad that Harris has delivered lately. During a recent speech she gave about Women’s History Month, she again fell down a rabbit hole.
“So, during Women’s History Month, we celebrate and we honor the women who made history throughout history, who saw what could be unburdened by what had been,” she said.
Is It a Case of Nerves?
This statement is straight-up terrible. There is no way this sentence was in her speech. Her speechwriters must be tearing their hair out – hair that is probably greying at this point of her term.
Harris is likely becoming nervous on stage, and this causes her to deviate from her prepared remarks. Talking about women’s history should be easy for Harris. She must have made similar remarks when she was a senator. I don’t see why she is having problems. These are friendly audiences who are rooting for her to nail her speeches.
This is becoming a pattern for the VP. When will she turn the corner and grasp the fundamentals of being a public figure? I don’t see improvement, instead I see a regression in her communications skills.
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Maybe it is a time for grounding her to give her a rest from appearances. She may have been afflicted with jet lag on the trip to Ghana. The difficulties speaking about the history of women in America are troublesome. There needs to be some type of intervention from President Joe Biden’s team to figure out what the problem is. Harris’ job is to make the commander-in-chief and his administration look good, and she is not accomplishing this mission. It’s time to send her a lifeline.
Author Expertise and Experience:
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.