The dynamic between President Joe Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris continues to be a major point of interest in Washington, DC as reporting for a new book sheds some light on the tensions in the White House.
Biden reportedly left Republican senators stunned during legislative negotiations when he strongly shut down Harris, who herself had recently been in the U.S. Senate.
New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns detail in their upcoming book, This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future, the tense exchange.
Biden and Harris were meeting with senators last May in an effort to get a $1 trillion infrastructure bill through the chamber when Harris reportedly “thought that there was something missing from the conversation.”
The book explains that she “began to make the case for a larger package than the one Republicans seemed to have in mind,” which included adding some more Democratic priorities like family and social spending.
“Biden dismissed her comment immediately,” the authors explain, noting “that even the Republican senators were taken aback” by his harsh tone. Biden, one of the longest-serving Senators in U.S. history, had taken the lead on Congressional negotiations early in his term.
The book has made headlines for offering other glimpses into the Biden-Harris relationship, including noting that Jill Biden was wary of putting Harris on the ticket due to her blistering attacks during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
The authors also quote Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) who recounted an early meeting between some governors and Biden and Harris, in which Hogan called Harris’s role in meetings “very strange.”
“Harris did not say a word,” Hogan told the authors, noting he was unsure if Harris was “just being deferential to the president — didn’t want to step on him” or there was some other dynamic at play.
“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 also wrote in excerpts published online Tuesday.
“Harris worried that Biden’s staff looked down on her; she fixated on real and perceived snubs in ways the West Wing found tedious,” the authors add of Harris who has yet to improve her dismal approval ratings.
In another section, the authors explain that Harris’s aides were unhappy she was given the southern border as a policy assignment and that they pushed instead for her to be made the liaison to the nordic countries – a much more cushy assignment.
“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.
The noting was reportedly “rejected” and “privately mocked” within the White House, the book adds.
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