Vice President Kamala Harris stopped in Utah Friday as part of a quick swing through Western states, the day after President Joe Biden gave a widely panned debate performance.

Earlier in the day, Harris defended Biden against calls for him to step aside to allow another Democrat to run for president after he gave a halting, confused performance in Thursday’s presidential debate against Donald Trump.

In Las Vegas, speaking to a friendly audience, Harris started out by saying it was not Biden’s “best performance,” before launching into a attack of former President Trump.

Harris visits Utah to raise money

Harris was reportedly accompanied on her visit to Utah by her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff.

She arrived on Air Force Two, landing at approximately 3 p.m., and was expected to depart a few hours later. During this window, Harris plans to travel to a Park City home for a fundraiser.

Air Force Two carrying Vice President Kamala Harris lands in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 28, 2024. Harris will be in Park City for a fundraising event and is scheduled to leave Utah this evening with no public events scheduled. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

“We are happy to host Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff in our state, and we hope that they’ll appreciate the beauty, which I know they do already,” Scott Howell, the former Utah State Senate minority leader and the Biden-Harris surrogate in Utah, told the Deseret News on Thursday.

Howell said he expected prominent Democrats and a few Republicans to attend the fundraiser, which did not have any media access. Additional details weren’t released for security reasons. The former state senator warned Parleys Canyon might be blocked off to drivers during some times Friday afternoon.

The Deseret News reported two weeks ago of the possibility of Harris coming to Utah.

Harris defends Biden in Las Vegas

At the rally in Vegas, Harris showed how the administration will continue to respond to Biden’s poor debate performance.


“Last night, President Joe Biden and Donald Trump had their first debate, and earlier today the president said himself it was not his best performance,” Harris said.

Besides saying it was a bad night for Biden, Harris said the “stakes of the race couldn’t be higher” in the 2024 election, while going on the attack against Trump.

She accused Trump of lying at the debate about the Jan. 6 riots and about his support for the military, before doubling down on her defense of Biden.

“As vice president, I see Joe Biden when the cameras are on and when the cameras are off in the Oval Office, negotiating bipartisan deals. I see him in the situation room, keeping our country safe,” she said.

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