Kamala Harris cancels appearance at Bay Area rally to support Newsom against recall

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harrison Thursday canceled plans to attend a rally opposing the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Harris’ decision came just hours after an attack in Afghanistan killed at least a dozen U.S. service members.
(Associated Press)

Just hours after a deadly attack in Afghanistan that killed U.S. service members Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris canceled plans to speak at a San Francisco rally on Friday to oppose the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, one of her longtime friends and political allies.

Newsom’s anti-recall campaign hoped Harris’ appearance would help energize Democrats, particularly in the liberal haven of the Bay Area, to vote against efforts to oust Newsom. Recent polls show that likely voters in California are almost evenly divided over whether to remove Newsom from office in the Sept. 14 recall election.

Harris had spent the past week in Asia, holding diplomatic meetings in Singapore and Vietnam. She had planned to end her trip in California after addressing troops at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu during a refueling stop Thursday.


But after the deaths of at least a dozen service members and many more Afghans, Harris’ spokeswoman said she would return immediately to Washington after leaving Pearl Harbor, forgoing plans to rally for Newsom and spend some potential downtime in San Francisco.

The Asia trip had already been overshadowed by the chaotic pullout from Afghanistan, with some questioning whether Harris should have canceled the entire tour. But despite a busy schedule of meetings and a 12-hour time difference, Harris made a point of phoning into numerous security briefings.

Nathan Click, spokesman for Newsom’s anti-recall campaign, said the entire rally has been canceled. The event was to be held in the parking lot of the historic Cow Palace just south of San Francisco, with supporters safely encapsulated in their parked cars.

Newsom and Harris have known each other for roughly two decades, with both ascending to leadership roles after emerging from San Francisco’s rough-and-tumble political world. In 2003, Harris was elected San Francisco district attorney and Newsom was elected San Francisco mayor, with both serving in those posts until 2011.

Harris and Newsom both consider Willie Brown, who served as San Francisco mayor and speaker of the state Assembly, as a political mentor.

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who spent part of the week at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, also canceled public events in Honolulu that he had been scheduled to attend on his way back.