The strange tale of María Fernanda Reyes, the activist who passed herself off as a Univision reporter on Tuesday night and gushed all over Vice President Kamala Harris in Mexico City, appears to be drawing to a close. It appears that the kerfuffle was not the result of over-the-top media bias, but of basic incompetence by White House staff.
Univision has devoted a significant amount of airtime to the disavowal of María Fernanda Reyes. To be crystal clear, this María Fernanda is NOT María Fernanda López, who is on staff at Univision’s Miami affiliate. María Fernanda Reyes is an activist who is also involved with the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, which is how she ended up in a meeting with Vice President Harris just prior to the press conference.
In an interview on this morning's Despierta América, Reyes told Univision’s María Antonieta Collins that although Harris's communications staff seated her next to Univision’s Mexico City correspondent, Jésica Zermeño, she indeed disclosed that she was NOT part of the network and claims that she did not want to ask a question.
However, upon being called to ask a question, Reyes admitted she was caught up in the thrill of the moment and did not correct Harris communications director (and former CNN political commentator) Symone Sanders when she was introduced as a Univision journalist. Upon conclusion of the press conference, Zermeño and Reyes claim to have approached someone from Harris’s staff (possibly Sanders), who said that everything would be okay and that the proper affiliation would appear in the official White House transcript.
But that hadn’t happened as of this morning, which would confirm that the White House left Univision to twist in the wind and take all the heat. Watch as Collins and Reyes both threw the White House under the bus:
MARIA FERNANDA REYES: It's that at the end of the press conference, the Univision reporter and I both approached the same (WH) communications person, and we clarified, advising that María Fernanda Reyes is (from) Stanford Latino. In fact, she took notes and said, "Don't worry. This will be clarified in the White House transcript. It was a mistake on our end."
MARIA ANTONIETA COLLINS, UNIVISION: Well, let me clarify. This morning- it's been nearly 24 hours after the fact- the White House has not yet issued any clarification in that regard. On the contrary- they thanked us for issuing the clarification and have made no correction.
This is a live post with multiple video updates and transcripts to come.