With hopes of stemming a recent surge of migrants at the U.S.–Mexico border, Vice President Kamala Harris headed to Guatemala this week as part of her role as President Joe Biden’s point person on all things diplomacy when it comes to border security. But things didn’t go quite as planned for the Democrat VP.
In a humiliating moment, reports indicate that Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei had to ask Harris to put her mask back on at the conclusion of a joint press conference held by the two on Monday. The vice president has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, but face coverings are apparently still mandatory in public spaces in Guatemala.
Footage of the embarrassing incident was tweeted out by Turning Point USA’s Benny Johnson.
Guatemalan President reminds fully-vaccinated VP Harris to wear a mask after joint press conference pic.twitter.com/o6hok18SGI
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 7, 2021
Kamala and masks
It was certainly an interesting moment for Harris, who is known for having a curious relationship with masks. The vice president has been seen wearing a mask outdoors on various stops across the country, even though the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say individuals who are fully vaccinated can forgo masks outside.
Last month, Fox News covered an incident in which Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, kissed each other through their masks while standing on a tarmac at Joint Base Andrews.
Met by protesters
Still, Harris nearly forgot her mask as she left the podium Monday — and that wasn’t the only awkward moment of her Guatemala trip. The Washington Examiner reports that Harris’ motorcade was at one point greeted by protesters in the Northern Triangle country.
They reportedly carried English-language signs, some of which cast doubt on the outcome of last year’s presidential election in the U.S. One declared, “Kamala, Trump won,” while others reportedly told the vice president to “go home” and “mind your own business.”
Other signs took aim at Harris’ stance on abortion, declaring that “Guatemala is pro-life,” according to the Examiner.
Mira como nuestros hermanos guatemaltecos recibieron a Kamala Harris.
— El Nuevo Estado (@eInuevoestado) June 7, 2021
Mixed messages on migration
Harris also earned the ire of some for her mixed messages on the topic of migration to the U.S. According to Fox News, now-President Biden declared during a 2019 Democratic presidential primary debate: “We’re a nation that says, ‘You want to flee, and you’re fleeing oppression, you should come.'” Harris, for her part, has previously compared the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) with the Ku Klux Klan.
Speaking Monday, the VP took a decidedly different tone. “Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our borders,” she said, according to Reuters. “If you come to our border, you will be turned back.”