Psaki Puts Blame on Sexism and Racism as VP Harris Suffers Backlash, Ratings Slide

© REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUEWhite House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, on her first day back after testing positive for COVID-19, speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 12, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, on her first day back after testing positive for COVID-19, speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 12, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.11.2021
Trouble has been brewing around US Vice President Kamala Harris as she not only sees a dramatic slide in her approval ratings, but is also reportedly in the crosshairs of the Biden team, which is said to be "exasperated" by the VP's office.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has suggested that among the main reasons driving the ongoing public criticism of Kamala Harris are sexism and racism that she faces as the first woman and woman of colour in the office.
Speaking on the Politico podcast "Women Rule" on Wednesday, Psaki offered her view on the backlash targeting the vice president, saying that Harris has "a lot" on her shoulders.

"I do think that it has been easier and harsher from some in the right-wing who have gone after her because she is the first woman, the first woman of colour. I'm not suggesting anyone will acknowledge that publicly. I mean, so many firsts, right? It's a lot to have on your shoulders. She is somebody who, at a much higher level than the rest of us, but who wants to be seen as the talented, experienced, you know, expert, substantive policy person, partner to the president, that she is. But I do think there have been some attacks that are beyond because of her identity".

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 5, 2021. - Sputnik International
Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary
This is not the first time the White House press secretary has had to weigh in to defend the vice president. Earlier in the week, she took to Twitter to brand Harris a "vital" partner to US President Joe Biden, shortly after reports emerged suggesting that the White House is being "worn out" by the Harris office.
"[The vice president] is not only a vital partner to [the president of the United States] but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country—from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband", Psaki said, immediately triggering a wave of mockery from people who saw the statement as an indicator of things going "badly".
U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris gestures as she gives a press conference in Paris, France November 12, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.11.2021
White House Reportedly 'Worn Out' by Harris Camp as Aides Claim Biden is Sidelining VP

Trouble in Paradise?

Once widely considered Joe Biden's heir apparent and hailed for her "many firsts" mentioned by Psaki, Kamala Harris has discovered herself in the crosshairs of critics - even from those in the West Wing.
Per CNN, key Biden aides appear to be frustrated with Harris' performance and blast her office for what they see as "entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus". It was also argued that Harris is a "leader" who is "not being put in positions to lead", with concerns in regard to sexism and racism contributing to the backlash she is facing also being raised.
The vice president has not been at peak performace of late, with her approval ratings plummeting to 28% - even lower than those of Biden - and the criticism has been targeting almost every part of her portfolio, from voting rights to the border crisis. Regarding the latter, the Washington Examiner reported Wednesday that some lawmakers have urged the White House to replace Harris as the "border czar". Texas lawmaker Henry Cuellar (D-TX), in particular, said that he doesn't think the VP is "put[ting] the effort in there".
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