Rebecca Downs, During her first foreign trip as vice president Kamala Harris took part in a press briefing in Mexico City. One of the five questions came from a woman everyone assumed was a reporter with Univision.
Before her question she shared that “For me, it’s an honor because I actually got to vote for the first time as a naturalized citizen. I voted for you.” As it turns out that woman isn’t a reporter at all, but rather an imposter by the name of Maria Fernanda Reyes, who somehow got into what should have been highly secure event.
As the Daily Mail reported, Reyes was impersonating Maria Fernanda Lopez, a Univision reporter based out of Miami, who was not at the event in Mexico City. The network was represented at the event by Jesica Zermeño.
On Tuesday, Univision’s president of news tweeted out confirming that Reyes was not affiliated with the network.
In Mexico an individual which has no association with @Univision claimed to be a reporter for @UniNoticias in order to ask the @VP a question and to compliment @KamalaHarris. Let it be clear to everyone that Ms. Maria Fernanda Reyes is not part of this media organization https://t.co/edxyzRVlt8
— Daniel Coronell (@DCoronell) June 9, 2021
The real Maria Fernanda Lopez also addressed the matter.
I am Maria Fernanda LOPEZ,as stated by our News Director @DCoronell it was a misunderstanding.I have never traveled to Mexico, I was in a Miami during the incident where Maria Fernanda REYES claimed to be a reporter of @UniNoticias asked @KamalaHarris saying an unethical comment https://t.co/YUZFIWIqPF
— MARIA FERNANDA LOPEZ (@mafelopeztv) June 9, 2021
Reyes ultimately asked “My question is, what would you say to these women, those mothers and also women of color on both sides of the border, farmers, many of them who I see every day as a message of hope but also as – What will you do for them in the next coming years?” Harris called it “a great question.”
Reyes doubled down on her question, surprised by the negative reaction. As Fox News reported:
Reyes, a San Francisco Bay area entrepreneur, said she spends much of her time traveling and works with farmers in the U.S., Mexico and India. Reyes was in Mexico City Tuesday assisting Mayan farmers and working with the country’s poor to help them navigate COVID-19 when she was asked by fellow entrepreneurs to attend the vice president’s event.
Her Linkedin page identifies her as the founder of AdoptaHero with ties to Stanford University’s Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.
“I am a fourth generation farmer and care about agriculture, food waste and supporting rural farmers, especially women rural farmers across the world,” her profile reads. “I’m on a journey to empower farmers to reduce food loss and food waste through technologies and education.”
Reyes said she was invited to the Harris event through connections she has through her work. She said like everyone else who was there, she was asked if she would be interested in asking Harris a question.
She said she was surprised by how quickly her question blew up. She said that she wished the substance of her question got more attention than the mistake.
“Everyone’s trying to twist it for their own agenda,” she said, pointing out that she is not overly interested in politics but wants to see conditions improve in the countries in the region.
“I don’t care. I asked a question,” she said. “If people don’t like it, fine,” she said.
With such a preface from Reyes, it’s hardly believable that she is someone who isn’t interested in politics, or that it’s everyone else who is “trying to twist [the question] for their own agenda.”
When Fox News asked for a comment, they were given a link to a tweet from Symone Sanders, Harris’ spokesperson, who introduced Reyes as “Maria Fernanda from Univision.”
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are looking into this. https://t.co/5gVsyOoudr
— SDS (@SymoneSanders46) June 9, 2021
“A press secretary for Harris told DailyMail.com the incident at the press conference, which allowed a random person to be in close proximity to the nation’s second highest-ranking official, was under review,” The Daily Mail reported.
Such a bombshell of mistaken identity provides one more reason why the trip was such a disaster.