Politico: Harris gets a crash course on foreign policy

February 26, 2021

By Eugene Daniels and Natasha Bertrand

But others say that even without extensive experience, Harris has the right tools to learn on the job. Halie Soifer, who served as Harris’ national security adviser while she was a senator, said it was “fitting that [Harris] would lead on foreign policy” as vice president.

“I see it as a continuum of her leadership in the Senate, which was focused mostly on domestic policy issues but included national security and was driven by values and principled policy that carry over into the international arena,” Soifer said.

Soifer noted Harris’ travel to Israel in 2017, early in her Senate term, and her “deep commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship,” as well as her work on the Senate Intelligence Committee, where Soifer says Harris played “a very active role “ in the panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Members and staff from the Intelligence Committee have praised Harris’ four years there; the committee does most of its work without cameras or reporters present with “no need for anyone to make it a show about themselves,” one Republican staffer put it. The staffer called Harris “a productive member of the committee” who “took it very seriously.”

Current Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) told POLITICO that her time on the committee gave her a “sophisticated and thoughtful understanding of the most pressing foreign policy and national security issues facing this country right now.”

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who also sits on the panel, described Harris as “thoroughly engaged” on the issues—even after she became vice president-elect.

“She was VP-elect, and she came into one of the meetings, and I said, quite loudly, ‘What a clever way to get intelligence briefings during the transition!’” King recalled, referring to the Trump transition’s early refusal to provide Biden and Harris with briefings.