CNN's Chris Cillizza wonders whether Kamala Harris' European visit could be a leadership 'moment'

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CNN’s often-mocked editor-at-large Chris Cillizza wrote an analysis piece Wednesday wondering if the ongoing Russia invasion into Ukraine could be an opportunity for Vice President Kamala Harris to improve her public image.

In the article title, “Is this, finally, Kamala Harris’ moment?” focused on whether Harris’ trip to Poland and Romania to help fortify NATO security could be a leadership moment for the vice president.

Vice President Kamala Harris talks about the effect of pollution on her sight and taste remarks at the Prince George’s County Brandywine Maintenance Facility on Dec. 13, 2021 in Brandywine, Maryland. 
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“This sort of tricky international diplomacy at a moment of crisis for Europe and the world is when (and how) leaders are made. If Harris can find a way through this fraught period with Poland, as well as the ongoing push by Ukraine for a no-fly zone, it would amount to a major win — not just for the Biden administration, but for Harris in particular,” Cillizza wrote.

Cillizza noted Harris’ record-low approval ratings and recurring staff issues but appeared to defend Harris’ record by claiming that staff changes were not “terribly unique.”

“Beset by staff departures and lingering questions about how good a fit she is for the job, Harris has struggled to find her political footing. (Worth noting: That’s not terribly unique. Being vice president is a notoriously difficult and, at times, thankless, job.),” Cillizza wrote.

He continued, “That was one of a slew of stories around that time that painted Harris — and Biden — as frustrated with the vice president’s office. It didn’t help that Harris also lost several senior members of her communications staff around the same time — although the White House insisted that those departures were planned and were not evidence of chaos within her office.”

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives to board Air Force Two, Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Harris is traveling to Poland and Romania for meetings about the war in Ukraine. 
(Saul Loeb/Pool via AP)

Harris’ past foreign trips have been riddled with controversy and missteps. During her visit to the Mexican border last June, the vice president was slammed as a “show” that failed to address border security. In February, Harris was mocked as ‘perpetually unprepared in Munich. 

Despite Harris’ foreign visit blunders, Cillizza maintained that her presence could be a moment to prove her position.

“Harris badly needs a moment to show that she could step into the top job. Those moments don’t come along very often, but this week’s trip is very much one of them,” he concluded.

On Saturday, Cillizza made a similar post for President Biden titled “Is this the beginning of a Joe Biden comeback?” While Cillizza similarly acknowledged Biden’s low approval ratings, he suggested that the president could improve his image in the future, using his management of the Ukraine crisis as an example.

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington as Vice President Kamala Harris and House speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., look on. 
(Julia Nikhinson/Pool via AP)

“His handling of the Ukraine situation — leading an international coalition against Russia and imposing harsh economic sanctions all while refusing to commit American military forces — has won him positive reviews from Democrats and Republicans,” Cillizza wrote.

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