The new communications director for Vice President Kamala Harris, Jamal Simmons, was expected to change things up for her and possibly even help her flagging approval ratings, which until recently were even lower than President Joe Biden’s. But it turns out Simmons has some skeletons in his closet that could leave him on the outs with progressives in the Democratic Party.
Just one day after Simmons was named to the new position, a report from Fox News revealed he shared tweets back in 2010 asking why U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wasn’t arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants who appeared in media interviews at the time.
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?
— Jamal Simmons (@JamalSimmons) November 29, 2010
More recently, in 2019 and 2020, Simmons tweeted that then-candidate Joe Biden seemed “dazed and confused” and accused then-President Donald Trump of “pushing a janky science vaccine” just to claim a victory late in the campaign, as Fox reported. He also criticized his new boss Kamala Harris during her presidential campaign.
Simmons apologized on Friday for the tweets.
“As a pundit for much of my career I have tweeted a lot and spoken out on public issues,” he said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
“Sometimes I have been sarcastic, unclear, or just plainly missed the mark,” he added. “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 has been involved in politics since the 1990s and worked on Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, according to Fox News. His experience was widely expected to help Harris reverse recent declines in her poll numbers.
Will Simmons help?
Perhaps Simmons’ honesty will be a help to Harris, but it seems that he is prone to making the same kinds of messaging mistakes as his new boss.
Harris has been dealing with an exodus of key staff for weeks as reports continue to claim she’s created a “toxic work culture.”
The latest Gallup polling has Harris at 44% approval and 54% disapproval, one point ahead of President Biden for the first time in months.
As the VP’s new chief communicator, Simmons sure has his work cut out for him.