OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have not appeared at many functions together over a nearly two-month span, leading some to speculate that the two may be drifting apart.
During 2019’s Democratic presidential debates, the two clashed over a number of issues, most notably Biden’s support for, as a U.S. senator in the 1970s, forced busing and for working closely with segregationists in their party, as The New York Times reported:
Perhaps no moment from the first Democratic debates in June was more dramatic than the tense exchange between former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris of California. The two Democrats sparred on the issues of race, segregation and school busing.
About an hour into the debate held June 27, Ms. Harris, a black former prosecutor, leapt into the cross-talk with a request to speak “on the issue of race.” She then trained her attention on Mr. Biden, and after making clear that she did not believe he was a racist, proceeded to sharply criticize him for having made “very hurtful” comments about having worked with two segregationist senators.
A Los Angeles Times piece in July 2020, about a year later and before Biden had announced who his running mate would be, speculated that it would be Harris, who “made a name” for herself confronting the former VP during the debates.
“Her decision to call him to account before a national prime-time audience produced one of the most electric moments of the 2020 campaign and, more than a year later, continues to echo as the presumptive Democratic nominee chooses his vice presidential running mate. Harris is seen as a top contender,” the paper noted, prophetically as it turned out.
But then the Times piece adds: “The heated exchange on a tropical June night in Miami, however, has complicated Harris’ hopes of landing on the ticket, even as Biden appears — at least publicly — to have forgiven his former rival.”
Did Biden forgive Harris, though? And has she managed to look past his past? Was her selection as a running mate a way to heal the divisions between the factions of the Democrat Party each represents, perhaps in the mold of conservative Ronald Reagan choosing establishment Republican George H. W. Bush to be his second-in-command?
It is difficult to say but what is true is that neither of them have been seen together at an event in nearly two months, as the Western Journal’s C. Douglas Golden writes:
Say it ain’t so: America’s political sweethearts are drifting apart.
Once upon a time, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were so close it was almost like they were co-presidents. In fact, the arc was almost like a bad rom-com.
“The Daily Mail looked at data regarding Harris’ schedule compiled by the Los Angeles Times and found the president and vice president had appeared in public together just two times in the 55-day period ending Oct. 22,” Golden continued.
However, “in the month of September, Harris appeared with Biden once at the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 9/11 attacks. Thus far in October, she’s appeared with him once, at the anniversary of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial,” he added.
After Biden was inaugurated Jan. 20 and through February, both of them appeared together 27 times; they were seen together in public another 23 times in March and April. So the drop-off in recent months is significant.
A former adviser to Harris said she and Biden have become divided over a lack of trust in each other and that the VP is not happy that “she hasn’t been given any all-star portfolio” to work with.
“Instead, a compilation of all of her publicly-announced events by the Times shows a more traditional vice presidency where she travels to promote her boss’s plans for the country rather than sitting in the board room shaping them,” the Daily Mail reported.
It’s not clear if Harris will wind up replacing Biden before 2024 as some have predicted, but what she has been tasked with by Biden — such as handling the border crisis — she has so far failed to excel at.