New Book Suggests Tensions, Frustrations Between Biden and Harris
21:36 GMT 22.03.2022 (Updated: 21:37 GMT 22.03.2022)
US President Joe Biden’s communications director, Kate Bedingfield, blamed US Vice President Kamala Harris for tension within the administration, according to a new book from New York Times reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin.
The book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future” is set to be released in May but Politico’s Playbook newsletter is already publishing
some of the juicier quotes.
According to the book, allies to the Vice President were becoming increasingly frustrated with the portfolio of issues she was tasked to tackle, observing she was not set up for success. This created tension within the administration that Bedingfield blamed directly on Harris.
“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.”
Harris did not win any delegates during her 2020 presidential campaign.
In response, Bedingfield denied the book's account in an email to 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[.]” Bedingfield also called Harris a “force in this administration.”
Harris was tasked with shoring up voting rights for Americans, an issue she asked to tackle. However, she reportedly grew frustrated with an apparent lack of support from the Biden administration as the bill languished in the Senate.
“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?”
Martin and Burns also write that the US first lady, Jill Biden, was not happy with the choice of Harris as Joe’s running mate. “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?”
In what ended up being the peak of Harris’ presidential campaign, she made headlines during the second democratic presidential primary debate by verbally attacking Biden over his history of working with segregationists.
“It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States Senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country and it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose bussing,” Harris said, addressing Biden onstage, adding that “there was also a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school and she was bussed to school every day and that little girl was me.”
The moment went viral but did not have a major impact on her campaign, according to polls at the time
A spokesperson for the first lady issued the same statement it has for similar reporting on the 2020 campaign, according to Politico “Many books will be written on the 2020 campaign, with countless retellings of events — some accurate, some inaccurate. The first lady and her team do not plan to comment on any of them.”
Among other allegations in the book is that Biden threatened to fire staffers over negative stories being leaked in the press after reports from unnamed sources suggested that the Harris office was dysfunctional.
“This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future” is set for release on May 3rd.