It’s 2022 and just when you thought the United States’ vice president, daughter of immigrants and immigration czar Kamala Harris, might have spent the holidays thinking about how to up the ante in the new year, she does something completely politically unsound.
Last week, Harris’ office announced she has hired Detroit-native Jamal Simmons as her new communications director. He is set to replace Ashley Etienne, who left the office late last year, along with Symone Sanders, who was Harris’ chief spokesperson and senior adviser. Harris is also losing Peter Velz, her director of press operations, and Vincent Evans, her deputy director of public engagement, who is headed to direct the Congressional Black Caucus, as her first year continues to be dogged by reports about dysfunction within.
But now the dysfunction has made another public appearance as somehow, Harris’ office hired Simmons without doing a thorough vetting of all his communication, including his tweets.
And Simmons has been a bad boy when it comes to immigrants. So much so that even Donald Trump’s dragon, Stephen Miller, agreed with him at one time.
Note: If Stephen Miller agrees with anything you say as a so-called left-leaning liberal analyst, then you should sign off and run for the hills.
Simmons, who has contributed to political analysis on CNN, CBS News, NPR, ABC and MSNBC and worked in politics for two decades, according to his bio, seems to have a problem with undocumented immigrants that has now caused him to apologize—likely insincerely.
Memo to Mr. Simmons—if you have to apologize for something you wrote, then you should not have written it in the first place.
So here’s the lowdown. In one resurfaced tweet from November 2010, Simmons wrote: “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?”
That wasn’t enough or maybe it wasn’t loved or retweeted enough. The same day Simmons posted again: “I’ll try this again. Just saw 2 undocumented folks talking on MSNBC and have a serious legal question. Why wouldn’t ICE pick them up?”
And then came the third tweet as Simmons obviously was extremely moved to anger by these poor undocumented immigrants.
“We shld harden borders & ease visas/find ways to bring undocumented into legal status/punish employers. My was common sense one,” Simmons insisted in a third tweet.
The messages drew attention from Miller who agreed with Simmons.
“I agree with @JamalSimmons,” he tweeted. “If you break into our nation there must be deportation.”
Fast track to 2022. Simmons for his part is now busy apologizing as he tries to do damage control to ensure he keeps this job. In a statement to CNN, Simmons wrote, “As a pundit for much of my career I have tweeted a lot and spoken out on public issues.
Sometimes I have been sarcastic, unclear, or just plainly missed the mark. 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.”
And on Friday, he wasn’t done apologizing as he tweeted: “For the record, I’ve never advocated for, nor believed that Dreamers should be targeted by ICE agents. I’ve been for DACA + comprehensive immigration reform for years. Frankly, it’s depressing ppl can forget about every other thing I’ve said in public on this bc of bad tweets.”
That is hardly an apology. Sounds more like arrogance as his own words have come back to bite him in the backside. Perhaps he should be apologizing to the undocumented immigrants he smeared and to all immigrants for being a xenophobe like Miller and Trump.
I agree with Washington State Democratic congressional candidate Stephanie Gallardo. Simmons’ tweets disqualify him from being communications director to the nation’s VP and immigration czar and from any post in the Biden administration. If he had to go through any confirmation process he would be disqualified, so why should he be kept around to take up the post?
If VP Harris has any political savvy, she will revoke this appointment. There are numerous qualified persons available; no need to settle for an anti-immigrant tweeter and so-called pundit.
Simmons is entitled to his opinion as a private individual and pundit but not as an employer to be paid by taxpayer dollars.
Harris, as a daughter of immigrants, should not entertain anyone with even a hint of loathing or xenophobia. If Simmons had said something against the LGBTQ or Jewish community he would be instantly disqualified. Why is it okay for him to get away with this because its undocumented immigrants?
It is not okay, and Kamala Harris should know that and revoke this appointment now!
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.