Remember when Kamala Harris was supposed to be so ready to take over the Oval Office that she might as well just set up her desk in there?
It seems like just yesterday Joe Biden and Harris were getting sworn in as the president and the next president — an office formerly known as the vice presidency, which has now been sold as a trainee program for Harris, so she’s fully prepared for whenever Biden finally makes a whirring noise and shuts down.
In fact, Biden touted Harris’ readiness vigorously when he introduced her as his running mate in August of 2020, a not-so-subtle hint for Americans who were worried about Uncle Joe’s continued seaworthiness. “Kamala knows how to govern,” he said, according to a Rev.com transcript. “She knows how to make the hard calls. She’s ready to do this job on day one, and we’re both ready to get to work, rebuilding this nation and building it better.”
He would, on other occasions, make it clear he was talking about Harris being ready for the presidency on day one — meaning she was just as ready for the job as he was. (Not that this was a particularly reassuring promise, but Joe sure thought it was.)
According to Joe, he says Kamala is ready to be President on day 1. Which tells me, if he won, he would transfer his power to her on day 1. pic.twitter.com/xJXWVTo9ia
— Litlrox (@Litlrox) October 9, 2020
The numbers don’t lie, however. The Los Angeles Times recently compiled a trove of information regarding Vice President Harris’ calendar, and the U.K. Daily Mail went through it. Not only is Harris drifting further apart from President Biden, the data show she’s missed 206 presidential daily briefs in person since the Biden-Harris administration took over at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
In January, Biden made it clear Harris was to be included in these meetings. Biden is “returning to the practice of having his vice president join for the briefing when they’re both in Washington,” officials said, according to NBC News. A vice presidential aid further commented, saying Harris had attended Oval Office briefings Biden’s first week as president, “and that is the plan going forward.”
Of the 275 presidential daily briefs — many of which were in person — between Jan. 20, the day of Biden’s inauguration, and Oct. 22, the last day the Los Angeles Times published her calendar data, Harris only attended 69.
And let’s be clear: The presidential daily brief isn’t just the Oval Office’s version of that endless morning meeting where Paul can’t stop talking about the grandchildren while he updates everyone on project progress and Anna makes sure to remind everyone to CC her on the expense reports.
As the Intelligence Community’s website notes: “The President’s Daily Brief (PDB) is a daily summary of high-level, all-source information and analysis on national security issues produced for the president and key cabinet members and advisers.”
The daily brief “has been presented in some form to the president since 1946, when President Harry S. Truman received the Daily Summary. Over the years, the PDB has evolved to meet the needs and preferences of each president and has expanded to include more information.”
Harris’ attendance at the presidential daily briefs has also been slipping as time has gone on.
In February, she attended 15 and in March, 17. As of Oct. 22, she’d only attended two this month. In September, she attended five, and in August, Harris appeared at just two. All in all, 39 of the 69 briefings she attended were in the first three months of the administration.
To a certain extent, this mirrors the increased political distancing between Biden and Harris as the first year of the new administration has moved into autumn.
In February, for instance, Harris did 18 open press events with the president. That fell to just one in September and one in October. (In September, she appeared with the president for the commemoration of September 11; in October, it was for the anniversary of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.)
A former Harris adviser says the president and vice president still don’t fully trust each other and Harris isn’t happy that “she hasn’t been given any all-star portfolio” assignments, according to the Daily Mail.
The White House disputed the claims to the Daily Mail, arguing the schedule didn’t tell the full story: “The vice president keeps a busy schedule doing the work of the administration and always in support of the president,” said Harris spokeswoman Sabrina Singh.
“Sometimes those events are together, other times apart, sometimes she is on the road amplifying the agenda of the administration and highlighting the importance of Build Back Better.”
However, this wasn’t the bill of goods the Biden campaign was selling. It’s not even the bill of goods the administration’s been peddling, either.
The White House has made a big deal of calling this the “Biden-Harris administration,” a double-billing no president in memory has applied to itself. They were supposed to be so close they were co-presidents, with Kamala being ready to take over on day one. That was the message.
The reality appears to be quite different, and looking at how often she attends the president’s daily brief there is one question to ask: Feeling confident, America?
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