OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A report on Monday claimed that President Joe Biden may have believed that Vice President Kamala Harris’ team was intentionally sabotaging other potential Veep choices ahead of his settling on the former U.S. senator from California.
According to the Washington Examiner, a new book by a pair of New York Times reporters claims that Biden wondered if Harris’ advisers were responsible for waves of negative press coverage that swamped some of her well-placed rivals:
While candidates expect to face heavy scrutiny, the authors of a forthcoming book wrote that “something about this seemed more deliberate, even targeted” as Biden and his advisers searched for a reliable No. 2 who would not hurt his chances in a general election.
The onslaught was “aimed at all of the most formidable Black women under consideration,” wrote Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of the New York Times. “[E]xcept for Kamala Harris.”
Harris’s team was known for circulating blistering opposition research on other candidates during the primary contest, driving suspicion to the top that it was behind attempts to sabotage the California senator’s rivals, according to Martin and Burns in This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) was pressured to explain a warm remembrance of murderous Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as well as her praise for the Church of Scientology amid statements and videos that suddenly appeared on social media and in news reports.
Meanwhile, aides to Susan Rice, who was a White House national security adviser to then-President Barack Obama, were informed of a dossier that contained criticism of her rough management style.
The stream of critical reports certainly seemed like they were tactically ‘leaked,’ according to the authors who wrote: “Even Joe Biden wondered aloud: Was Harris’ team driving this?”
“Bass had drawn strong support from California Democrats and allies in Washington, including former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, a member of Biden’s vice presidential search committee,” the Examiner reported. “And when the gloves came off for Harris, the Democratic presidential nominee was alarmed.”
“Biden was startled by some of the intra-state factional attacks on Harris by her fellow Democrats, including members of the state’s large congressional delegation,” the authors wrote in the book set to be published on May 3.
According to the authors, though, one very influential person in Joe Biden’s life also was not impressed with Harris as the choice for VP: Jill Biden.
“There are millions of people in the United States. Why do we have to choose the one who attacked Joe,” Jill Biden said in a conversation after she discovered that Harris was in the lead for the job, Fox News reported.
But there was support for her among some on Biden’s staff, including Ron Klain who is now the White House chief of staff, was in charge of the vetting for vice president and had Harris pegged for the job.
“Yes, Harris had attacked Biden more harshly than any other major candidate in the Democratic primaries. Yes, the Biden family had seen it as a smear and a betrayal. In Klain’s assessment, that would work to Biden’s advantage,” the book said. “Choosing Harris will show people that you are magnanimous and forgiving, Klain told Biden. It will show the country just what a unifying leader you can be.”
The book also said the Biden had reservations about selecting Harris as a running mate, in part because of her “past romantic relationship with Willie Brown, the former San Francisco mayor who had appointed Harris to a pair of minor political positions,” something he thought of “as the kind of thing that should be off-limits.”
The report added:
Another candidate who pushed hard for the role was Stacey Abrams, who, according to the book, did “not pass the test” and was seen by Biden’s advisers as a lost cause after she failed to win the Georgia gubernatorial race in 2018.
“Abrams fought hard to win real consideration but never overcame the experience issue” that Biden’s advisers warned him about, the book claims.