Privately, Biden Gripes About Harris Not 'Rising to the Occasion'

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Joe Biden is not going to replace Kamala Harris as vice president. Too many Democratic constituencies have too much invested in Harris for Biden to risk a blow-up.


But that doesn’t mean Biden is thrilled with having to keep his vice president around for another five years. Two former White House aides told Reuters that Biden is frustrated that Harris has not volunteered to take over some hot-button issues that most vice presidents take on.

“If he did not think she was capable, he would not have picked her. But it is a question of consistently rising to the occasion,” said the former official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I think his running for re-election is less about her and more about him, but I do think that she and the Democratic bench (are) a factor.”

The problem for Biden is that there is no “Democratic bench” — no obvious candidates who could take over as president. At least, no candidates younger than 70.

“I think this is actually one of the fundamental strategic challenges for (Biden) … how to navigate this,” said one Democrat with close ties to the White House, noting the implausibility of replacing Harris on the presidential ticket. “It’s almost impossible for them to make a change.”

And it appears that Harris has become so gun-shy about press criticism that she’s avoiding tackling high-profile issues like the border.


“A point of tension in their relationship is that I don’t think that the president sees her as somebody who takes anything off of his plate” due to a “fear of messing up,” one former White House official said.

Indeed, Biden made Harris the “border czar” and what did she do? She avoided the border like the plague and visited other Central American countries, begging them not to send any more asylum seekers. Biden never said so out loud but was annoyed that Harris refused to perform the usual thankless political chores that vice presidents are asked to do.

New York Post:

Biden has made a point of praising Harris recently — after prior reports that he’s been frustrated with her apparent reluctance to embrace an assignment to reduce record-breaking illegal immigration.

On Thursday, Biden said at an event celebrating the 13th anniversary of former President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, “Kamala, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done to defend this law as vice president,” without specifying what that was.

Earlier reports hinted at the tension between Biden and Harris, whom Reuters sources confirmed are all but certain to remain on the top of the Democratic ticket next year.


At some points in his presidency, Biden has barely been able to conceal his contempt for Harris.

Author Chris Whipple, an expert on West Wing staffing, wrote in his book “The Fight of His Life,” released in January, that Biden considered Harris to be a “work in progress.”

The president vented to a friend about Harris in 2021 after he got word that her husband, Douglas Emhoff, was complaining about the tasks assigned to her, including mitigating migration and pushing for a federal voting-rights law, Whipple wrote.

“Biden was annoyed,” the book says. “He hadn’t asked Harris to do anything he hadn’t done as vice president — and she’d begged him for the voting rights assignment.”

Most presidents dislike their vice presidents because whenever they see them, they’re reminded of their primary purpose. That fact must send a shiver through Biden as the thought of Harris sitting in the Oval Office is the stuff of nightmares.


Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member