A new report claims that first lady Jill Biden unleashed a vulgar tirade against then-Sen. Kamala Harris following a tense moment for her husband during a 2019 Democratic primary debate.
The article Wednesday in Politico quotes sources with knowledge of the Biden camp’s response to Harris’ comments that challenged then-candidate Joe Biden’s previous relationships with segregationists during a conversation about racism and school integration.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me,” Harris said.
The comment was obviously intended to suggest that Biden was either racist or friendly with racists, and Harris capitalized on it.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 28, 2019
Harris didn’t mention that Biden had once referred to integrated schools as “racial jungles,” but the debate moment became a highlight of a campaign that struggled to win over Democratic voters.
One person who was not impressed with the comment was Jill Biden, according to the Politico article, which writer Edward-Isaac Dovere adapted from his book “Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats’ Campaigns to Defeat Trump.”
Dovere reported that a week later while on a conference call with supporters, Joe Biden’s wife unleashed on the woman who would later become his running mate.
“With what he cares about, what he fights for, what he’s committed to, you get up there and call him a racist without basis?” Jill Biden reportedly said.
According to Dovere, the now-first lady told Harris, “Go f*** yourself.”
The report said Jill Biden was not the only person incensed by the Harris attack on Joe Biden’s race and civil rights record.
Per Dovere, the candidate himself was also angered by what he viewed as a lowbrow attack.
“Biden, taken aback, plodded through a response. She was mischaracterizing his position, he said. That’s not what he stood for, and she knew that. He found his way to the end of the answer and stopped speaking,” the report said.
“A few minutes later, the moderators paused for a commercial break. Biden leaned over to Pete Buttigieg, at the podium to his right. They barely knew each other, but Biden was looking for someone to share the moment with,” Dovere said.
Biden reportedly said to Buttigieg, “That was some f***ing bulls***.”
Biden’s team was sent into a panic by the moment, according to Dovere.
“Two days after the debate, Biden’s campaign reached out to an opposition researcher and bought all the files on Harris,” the report said. Back in Philadelphia, his top advisers rented a conference room at an office space a few blocks from headquarters for an emergency meeting.
“Everyone felt that they were teetering. No one knew what to do. He was coming off as old, angry, spiteful. His supporters were attacking Harris, saying she just wanted to be president, as if they were not backing a guy who clearly wanted to be president himself.”
The debate was held in Miami nearly two years ago, which is a lifetime in politics. Harris is now portrayed as being Biden’s chief ally in Washington — despite having gone for his jugular during a televised debate and reportedly infuriating Biden and his wife.
It’s interesting to learn how the viral debate moment was handled behind the scenes.
In all likelihood, Harris was not chosen as a running mate for having a clear message or for being likable, as voters soundly rejected her at the ballot box.
But Biden’s team apparently saw something positive in Harris following her attempt to end his campaign.
Whether that was in neutralizing her as a vocal threat to his candidacy or putting her on his ticket in order to court minority and women votes remains unclear.
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