What’s the relationship like between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden? We see her often standing there silently, behind Biden.
One would think it can’t be all comfy, cozy because of the way that Harris went after him during the presidential debate. Indeed, as we previously reported, there’s word that Jill Biden didn’t want her on the ticket for exactly that reason and that Joe Biden had reservations because of Harris’ relationship with Willie Brown, “as the kind of thing that should be off-limits.”
On top of that, Harris doesn’t seem to have brought much to the ticket beyond word salads and controversy. So many of her staff have already fled for the door — with her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, being the latest — amid reports of bullying and a toxic environment. There’s also reportedly been tension between the Biden and Harris teams.
But the tension kicked up between Biden and Harris as well.
According to the book, “This Will Not Pass,” last year, when Biden was dealing with lawmakers on the infrastructure bill, Harris wanted to put more into the bill, including more social spending. But Biden snapped at her when she tried to intervene.
She ‘began to make the case for a larger package than the one Republicans seemed to have in mind.’
‘Biden dismissed her comment immediately,’ the authors wrote, in so harsh a tone ‘that even the Republican senators were taken aback.’
That’s probably not surprising, given what a quick fuse Joe Biden seems to have. We’ve seen him flip out often when he is challenged, even on voters. Harris was also likely wrong, as the infrastructure bill barely passed as it was. If they had added more social spending into it, it never would have passed.
Harris apparently learned not to speak up.
The reporters wrote of one meeting soon after Biden and Harris took office that the White House set up with governors to discuss coronavirus relief.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said that Biden took charge and was eager to work with the governors. But he said that Harris’s role in the meeting was ‘very strange.’
‘Harris did not say a word,’ Hogan reportedly said, leaving him to question whether she was ‘just being deferential to the president — didn’t want to step on him.’
Harris reportedly felt belittled by the president’s staff, but Biden’s team did not take her concerns seriously.
‘Some of Harris’s advisers believed the president’s almost entirely white inner circle did not show the vice president the respect she deserved,’ Martin and Burns wrote. ‘Harris worried that Biden’s staff looked down on her; she fixated on real and perceived snubs in ways the West Wing found tedious.’
Harris even sent out chief of staff Tina Flournoy to scold Biden’s staffers for not standing up when she entered the room, the way they do for the president. ‘The vice president took it as a sign of disrespect,’ according to the book.
They detail the issue over her assignment to deal with illegal immigration — a tough topic, even assuming the Biden wanted to do anything to solve it. Her staff wanted an easier first assignment for her.
‘Staff floated the possibility of the vice president overseeing relations with the Nordic countries — a low-risk diplomatic assignment that might have helped Harris get adjusted to the international stage in welcoming venues like Oslo and Copenhagen,’ the authors wrote.
They added that the prospect of overseeing Nordic countries was ‘rejected’ by White House aides and even ‘privately mocked.’
‘More irritating to Biden aides was when they learned the vice president wanted to plan a major speech to outline her view of foreign policy,’ they added in the book. ‘Biden aides vetoed the idea.’
‘Why should a vice president have their own independently articulated view of global affairs?’ Biden’s team questioned.
Ron Klain told her “She was hardly the first vice president to endure tough coverage.”
And once in office, a senator close to Harris claimed the vice president’s frustration level was ‘up in the stratosphere’ as she realized her political flight path looked like a ‘slow rolling Greek tragedy.’
It’s hard to feel sorry for her. She’s upset about how it may have hurt her politically. She had forty years of Joe Biden history to judge and to know better. She signed onto the tragedy, thinking that she would ultimately get the first seat as the prize when Biden went away. So she’s part of the group that has fostered this debacle on us all. She was more concerned about her advancement than whether this was good or healthy for the country.
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