Any solo international trip of the first female vice president of the United States and the country’s first female vice president of color would, in normal circumstances, invite first-degree scrutiny. Not just of her speeches and joint news conferences, but of her ceremonial appearances. Emphasis on the last word.
After all, as a pioneer and one of the rare women helping to lead a country on the world stage (at a time when one of the most famous, Angela Merkel of Germany, is about to step down), every statement and choice she makes carries with it the symbolism of the trailblazer. Her decisions impact not just herself, but those who come after her and will learn from her example.
Kamala Harris’s recent trip to Southeast Asia, which came to an end on Aug. 26, was notable in part because of how much the focus was on what she said and how little extraneous commentary it generated; how little reaction to the theater of the trip (the costumes! the curtain raisers!). Which is, when you think about the formal choreography of such trips, which are a dance between public performance and private policy negotiations, pretty extraordinary.
The Daily Mail was so desperate for content that it tried to drum up angst because of … a smile.