Wednesday, January 19, 2022

White House asks Kamala Harris’s niece to stop “using aunt to boost brand”: Report

US Vice President Kamala Harris and her family will uphold the highest ethical standards, her spokesperson said, asserting that it is the policy of the White House that her name should not be used in connection with any commercial activity.

The statement comes following media reports that the White House has asked Meena Harris, niece of the vice president, to stop “using her aunt to boost her brand”.

“The Vice President and her family will uphold the highest ethical standards and it is the White House’s policy that the Vice President’s name should not be used in connection with any commercial activities that could reasonably be understood to imply an endorsement or support,” Sabrina Singh, Deputy Press Secretary to the Vice President, told PTI.

According to Los Angeles Times, the White House has asked Meena Harris not to “build her brand” by using the name of the US Vice President.

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After Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election, the transition team’s ethics lawyers told Meena Harris that she could no longer produce clothing or write new books with her aunt’s name or likeness, an unnamed White House official was quoted as saying by the daily.

According to the daily, the White House official said “Vice President Aunty” sweatshirts, Ms Harris-themed swimsuits and other products previously sold, were not allowed under the current rules.

Meena Harris did not respond to a question sent through a social media platform.

After Kamala Harris became the Vice President of the United States of America, her niece has been in several news reports.

“The @meena problem goes global” wrote Politico last week. The news report accused Meena Harris of wading into India’s internal politics.

“Her (Meena’s) series of posts have helped provoke a backlash from the Indian government and some of its supporters, adding an unexpected wrinkle to India-US relations, just as Biden is seeking to engage with the country’s leaders,” Politico reported.

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The White House, however, has described such tweets as expression of views of a private citizen.

“What is happening in India is terrifying,” Meena Harris had written in one of her latest tweets on India as she retweeted a news story about the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi.

In recent weeks, there has been a sudden spurt in India-specific tweets by Meena Harris. She has also come out in open in support of farmers protesting against the recently enacted agricultural laws and arrest of individuals related to it.

According to informed sources, the White House believes that her tweets are unlikely to have any impact on India-US relationship, to which the Biden administration gives top priority.

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