Amid economic turmoil and calls to buy local in the United States, Vice President Kamala Harris dropped nearly $400 for a single pot at a boutique shop in Paris, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
Overseas last week on a four-day diplomatic trip to mend the U.S. relationship with France, Harris stopped in at E. Dehillerin, a pricey cookware shop outside the Louvre museum, where she dropped hundreds of dollars on various kitchen items. The big-ticket items in the haul were a $375 serving dish and $160 frying pan, the Parisian specialty store told the Free Beacon. The vice president rounded out her purchase with various smaller accessories, such as a porcelain cocotte and egg dish, a copper cleaner, and various wooden spoons.
All together Harris spent 516 euros, which amounts to roughly 600 dollars at the current exchange rate. Reporters joined Harris in the store as she browsed but were kicked out before they could record details of her lavish purchase, according to C-SPAN video of the E. Dehillerin visit.
The vice-presidential shopping spree came as Americans stateside suffer from the worst inflation in three decades, putting strain on both consumers and small businesses. The Biden administration has stressed the need to "buy American," calling for a "whole-of-government" effort to support American manufacturing.
An American visiting Paris at the same time as Harris said he visited the store as well and was shocked when a store clerk told him what Harris bought, given the economic challenges back home.
"I was surprised that our vice president was out purchasing boutique pans in Paris," the tourist told the Free Beacon. "She proclaimed at a press conference just a day earlier that her focus was on the American worker."
Dehillerin is internationally recognized for its fine cookware and boasts that iconic American chef Julia Childs was a "great admirer" of its products. But the French do not have a monopoly on fine copper products: In the United States, specialty shops such as Brooklyn Copper Cookware in New York and Duparquet Copper Cookware in Rhode Island are celebrated for their craftsmanship.
Duparquet was founded in the 19th century, just like E. Dehillerin, but failed to survive economic turmoils of the Great Depression and closed down in 1936. It was recently revived and has been hailed by Town and Country and Eater for the work that goes into each hand-made pot. The American product was even listed on France's own Guide Michelin, an internationally acclaimed authority on all things food, as a must-have "ultimate kitchen accessory."
The vice president did not respond to a request for comment on her purchase.
Harris has struggled to find her footing in her first year as vice president. Entering the week, a poll found just 28 percent of voters approve of the job she's doing. Her inner circle of advisers has grumbled that the White House hasn't put her in a position to succeed, giving her unenviable tasks such as solving the out-of-control border crisis.
Her trip to France was viewed as an opportunity to shine on the world stage by mending the relationship with America's oldest ally, which the Biden administration muddled up by working behind France's back on an international submarine contract with the Australians. France yanked its ambassador from the United States, citing "unacceptable behavior between allies."
Harris's performance in France received mixed reviews. While the stated mission on her trip was to "avoid gaffes," a "cringe" video of her using a French accent garnered millions of views on social media.
Harris told reporters that she hoped to use the hundreds of dollars in new French cookware as part of her family's Thanksgiving meal. Many Americans, meanwhile, are fretting over the fact that this year's holiday meals will be the most expensive in history. NBC's Today Show suggested skipping a turkey altogether as a way to "set a budget for your meal."
The money Harris dropped at E. Dehillerin could have been used to buy at least 25 16-pound turkeys for families in need, according to a Free Beacon cost analysis.