White House officials “privately mocked” a request from aides to Kamala Harris that the vice president be given an easier assignment than the U.S.’s immigration crisis, according to a book excerpt.
President Joe Biden announced in March 2021 that Harris would lead his administration’s response to rampant illegal immigration into the U.S. from Central and South American countries. Since then, Harris has visited the U.S.-Mexico border just once and derided calls for her to do so as “political games.” The White House later attempted to amend Harris’ role as a foreign policy assignment and effort to address the “root causes” of migration, but she faced bipartisan criticism for her handling of a June 2021 trip to Mexico and Guatemala.
Harris’ team even requested that she be moved off of the immigration crisis and put in charge of “overseeing relations with the Nordic countries,” according to a book excerpt published by Mediaite. (RELATED: Kamala Harris’ Team Reportedly Panicked After Biden Gave Her Immigration Assignment)
Such “a low-risk diplomatic assignment … might have helped Harris get adjusted to the international stage in welcoming venues like Oslo and Copenhagen,” authors Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns write. However, Harris’ aides were reportedly “rejected” and “privately mocked” by White House staffers.
“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.” https://t.co/fqLkeBWzBa
— Logan Ratick (@Logan_Ratick) April 26, 2022
The immigration episode was not the only time Biden or his staffers were critical of Harris, however. During negotiations with Senate Republicans over the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Harris reportedly suggested that Congress issue “a larger package than the one Republicans seemed to have in mind.” Harris’ proposal would have included more social spending, according to Martin and Burns.
“Biden dismissed her comment immediately,” they write, explaining “that even the Republican senators were taken aback” by the president’s remarks.
Harris and First Lady Jill Biden also reportedly have a fraught relationship, owing to Harris’ attacks on Joe Biden over integration and busing during the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.
“There are millions of people in the United States, she began. Why, she asked, do we have to choose the one who attacked Joe?” Martin and Burns write of Jill Biden’s complaints toward the vice president.