OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Vice President Kamala Harris was not the pick that first lady Jill Biden wanted, a new book by two New York Times journalists says.
The book, titled “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” was written by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns and gets into the tension between the Biden and Harris campaigns during the 2020 presidential election which was won by President Joe Biden, The Daily Wire reported.
“Speaking in confidence with a close adviser to her husband’s campaign, the future first lady posed a pointed question. There are millions of people in the United States, she began. Why, she asked, do we have to choose the one who attacked Joe?” the book said.
What is more curious is that the first lady’s spokesman, Michael LaRosa, did not confirm nor deny the reports in the book and gave a tepid answer.
“Many books will be written on the 2020 campaign, with countless retellings of events — some accurate, some inaccurate. The First Lady and her team do not plan to comment on any of them,” he said.
The book also claimed that White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield questioned the ability of Harris to do the job.
“In private, Bedingfield had taken to noting that the vice presidency was not the first time in Harris’s political career that she had fallen short of sky-high expectations: Her Senate office had been messy and her presidential campaign had been a fiasco. Perhaps, she suggested, the problem was not the vice president’s staff,” the book said.
Bedingfield denied the accusation to Politico and said, “The fact that no one working on this book bothered to call to fact check this unattributed claim tells you what you need to know. Vice President Harris is a force in this administration and I have the utmost respect for the work she does every day to move the country forward.”
The book also alleges that Harris felt frustrated at times — and even blamed President Biden for some of those frustrations. After specifically asking to help with the push for both election overhaul bills — the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom To Vote Act — Harris reportedly complained that unless Biden forcefully declared his willingness to support senate rule changes, she could not hope to move the measure forward.
“How was she supposed to communicate clearly about voting-rights legislation, Harris asked West Wing aides, when the president would not even say that he supported changing the Senate rules to open the path for a bill?” the book said.
But there was more to the book, that painted a tenuous relationship between the president and vice president, Politico reported.
The Biden White House had been remarkably leak-proof in the first several months. But that began to change after Harris’ trip to Guatemala in June to address immigration, with reports of dysfunction in her office finding their way to print.
That ticked off Biden, according to the book. The president hauled senior staff into the Oval Office and warned if “he found that any of them was stirring up negative stories about the vice president, Biden said, they would quickly be former staff.”
Meanwhile, Harris was growing increasingly agitated by her predicament. “One senator close to her, describing Harris’s frustration level as ‘up in the stratosphere,’ lamented that Harris’s political decline was a ‘slow-rolling Greek tragedy,’” Martin and Burns write. “Her approval numbers were even lower than Biden’s, and other Democrats were already eyeing the 2024 race if Biden declined to run.”
The pair reports that Harris and Biden have had a “friendly but not close” personal relationship, “and their weekly lunches lacked a real depth of personal and political intimacy.”