Kamala Harris returned to the U.S. on Thursday, landing in Hawaii after her trip to Singapore and Vietnam.
But the vice president ignored reporters’ questions – whether about Afghanistan or other topics – as she got off Air Force Two for a stop at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
She also blocked reporters from attending her planned address to U.S. troops stationed at the base, according to reports.
The Pearl Harbor stop had been scheduled prior to Thursday’s terrorist attack at the Kabul airport that killed at least 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans. An Islamic State group affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack.
After the attack, reporters traveling with Harris learned her Hawaii visit with the troops would be closed to the press.
“The VP’s staff informed the pool during the flight that her event with troops at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam would now be closed press,” the White House press pool said, according to the Washington Examiner. “No explanation given by the VP’s team for why it has been changed to closed press when asked by a member of the pool.”
Harris also canceled a campaign rally scheduled for Friday in California with Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall election next month, likely over the optics of attending a political event after a deadly terrorist attack.
AFGHANISTAN EXPLOSIONS: 13 US SERVICE MEMBERS KILLED IN KABUL AIRPORT BLAST, MORE WOUNDED, OFFICIALS SAY
Instead, she and second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who greeted Harris in Hawaii, flew directly back to Washington on Thursday – again without taking questions from reporters as she boarded Air Force Two.
Harris had flown to Pearl Harbor following a sweep through Southeast Asia this week.
Harris issued a statement about the events in Afghanistan.
“Today in Kabul, a terror attack killed 13 American service members. These courageous service members died while saving countless lives. They are heroes,” Harris wrote in a Twitter post Thursday evening. “Doug and I grieve for the Americans we lost, we pray for the Americans injured in the attack, and our hearts go out to their loved ones. We also grieve for the Afghan civilians killed and injured.
“Our country is grateful to our women and men in uniform, and in particular, those working today to get Americans and our Afghan partners out of harm’s way. We will complete that mission. Today, we honor those who gave their lives in service to their nation. We will never forget.”
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Harris’ office released a statement summarizing her stop at Pearl Harbor, according to the Examiner. The vice president “addressed 25 members of the military representing the six active-duty service branches and National Guard, thanking them for their service,” the statement said. “She and the Second Gentleman then talked individually with each service member.”