A new book paints a picture of the relationship between President Joe Biden’s team and the entourage of Vice President Kamala Harris as a festival of behind-the-scenes bickering, according to a new report.
According to Politico, complaints are flowing from both sides after first bubbling over into public view last fall when CNN used the words “exasperation and dysfunction” to describe Harris’ first 10 months as vice president.
The book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” was authored by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of The New York Times.
The book cites Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director, as suggesting Harris could be the root of the problem.
“In private, Bedingfield had taken to noting that the vice presidency was not the first time in Harris’s political career that she had fallen short of sky-high expectations: Her Senate office had been messy and her presidential campaign had been a fiasco. Perhaps, she suggested, the problem was not the vice president’s staff,” the book says.
Bedingfield told Politico, “The fact that no one working on this book bothered to call to fact check this unattributed claim tells you what you need to know. … Vice President Harris is a force in this administration and I have the utmost respect for the work she does every day to move the country forward.”
The book says Harris’ allies appear to have an awareness that her political future is dissolving before their eyes.
“One senator close to her, describing Harris’s frustration level as ‘up in the stratosphere,’ lamented that Harris’s political decline was a ‘slow-rolling Greek tragedy,’” it says.
“Her approval numbers were even lower than Biden’s, and other Democrats were already eyeing the 2024 race if Biden declined to run.”
The book describes Harris’ relationship with Biden as “friendly but not close” and claims that “their weekly lunches lacked a real depth of personal and political intimacy.”
According to the book, Harris had a fit of pique concerning efforts to pass a bill overhauling elections by abolishing or limiting the Senate filibuster.
“How was she supposed to communicate clearly about voting-rights legislation, Harris asked West Wing aides, when the president would not even say that he supported changing the Senate rules to open the path for a bill?” the book says.
Harris later refused to launch an all-out effort until “voters knew that Biden himself was willing to back the procedural steps required” to pass the bill, the book says.
The book further claims that picking Harris for VP was not well-received by first lady-to-be Jill Biden during the 2020 campaign.
“Speaking in confidence with a close adviser to her husband’s campaign, the future first lady posed a pointed question. There are millions of people in the United States, she began. Why, she asked, do we have to choose the one who attacked Joe?”
Harris’ office declined to comment on the book.
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