The woman who purported to be a Univision reporter during Vice President Kamala Harris’s press event in Mexico “misrepresented herself” to both the company and the vice president’s staff, a White House official said Wednesday to the Daily Caller.
Univision’s crew “was properly credentialed for the event” and the woman, named Maria Fernanda Reyes, told staffers she was part of that crew. The official noted Reyes went through security screening and wasn’t a threat to Harris. (RELATED: Vice President Harris To Visit Mexico And Guatemala To Address Root Causes Of Northern Triangle Migration)
“This person misrepresented herself to both Univision and to the Vice President’s staff. She misrepresented herself to the Vice President’s staff as part of Univision’s crew, which was properly credentialed for the event. This person underwent the same level of security screening and was never a security threat to the VP,” the official said.
UPDATE: The president of Univision says that the person who asked this question isn’t a reporter with their network.
So who exactly is this person and how did they end up asking the Vice President a question? https://t.co/fFVkYLEmta
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 9, 2021
Reyes was called on during Harris’ Tuesday evening press conference in Mexico. Reyes was introduced as Univision reporter “Maria Fernanda” and preceded her question by praising the vice president and noting that she voted for her.
Univision does have a Miami-based reporter named Maria Fernanda, although this woman’s last name is Lopez and she not attend the event. The name similarity may have helped spur along the confusion on the ground.
“Thank you Madam Vice President, for me it’s an honor because I actually got to vote for the first time as a nationalized citizen. I voted for you,” the woman, who was one of just a few to be called on, told Harris.
“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?” Reyes asked.
Reyes’ voting comment sparked widespread attention after the event, prompting Univision News president Daniel Coronell to say Reyes “has no association with” the company.
“Let it be clear to everyone that Ms. Maria Fernanda Reyes is not part of this media organization,” Coronell tweeted.
Univision told the Caller a slightly different story, noting that Reyes was interviewed Wednesday morning by the news outlet and “made the clarification in the interview.” Reyes is apparently actually a member of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative and was described by Univision as “a guest” at the event.
Who is Maria Fernanda Reyes? Why was she at Vice President’s Kamala Harris press conference in Mexico?
— ???????????????? ???????????????????????? (@jczamora) June 9, 2021
Univision appeared to place the blame on an incorrect introduction rather than an intentional misrepresentation.
“Univision News Senior Correspondent interviewed Maria Fernando Reyes this morning,” Joe Zamora, senior vice president of communications at Univision, told the Caller. “As stated before, she is in no way affiliated to Univision. She made the clarification in the interview. She is part of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative and attended the event as a guest. They introduced her incorrectly and both her and the person that introduced her failed to make the necessary correction.”
Harris also stopped in Guatemala in what marked her first foreign policy trip under the administration. The trip was intended to address the “root causes” of illegal immigration and she returned Wednesday.