Kamala Harris has spent her time as vice-president obsessing over her public image and frustrating aides with demands, a bombshell new book has claimed.
The White House has reportedly been annoyed at Harris’ ‘rabbit ears’ for criticism, and she is said to be aware of any negative news story or complaints about her management style almost immediately.
‘She let the criticism guide her,’ writes journalist Franklin Foer in his upcoming book The Last Politician, adding that she has vexed Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain by ‘making life excessively difficult by imposing all sorts of constraints on herself.’
Harris, 58, has allegedly struggled to find her footing as she flip-flops between failing to commit to high-profile assignments, such as her role as Biden’s ‘border czar’, and shunning the spotlight.
Although Biden is widely expected to keep her on the ticket for his 2024 reelection bid, Harris has allegedly rubbed the administration the wrong way by demanding to be distanced from ‘women’s issues or anything to do with race’ while wanting her office to be majority female with a black woman as chief of staff.
The White House has reportedly been annoyed at Harris’ ‘rabbit ears’ for criticism, and she is said to be aware of any negative news story or complaints about her management style almost immediately
Joe Biden speaks during an event celebrating the lowering of drug pricing in the East Room of the White House on August 29
When President Biden was tapped by then-candidate Barack Obama to become vice-president in 2008, the conventional wisdom was the veteran senator was chosen to bolster Obama’s fairly short political resume.
But the same cannot be said for Harris, according to Foer, who wrote that while Biden ‘helped plug the gaps’ in Obama’s support, the current president ‘didn’t need Harris in the same way Obama needed Biden.’
This has allegedly led to a disjointed run as VP where Harris has become paranoid about the optics of her run, Foer claimed, leading to ‘what one of her colleagues described as ‘rabbit ears” to criticism.
‘Whenever there was a hint of criticism of her — either in the West Wing or in the press — she seemed instantly aware of it,’ he wrote.
‘Rather than brushing it aside, she wanted to know who was speaking ill of her and what they were saying.’
Whenever she comes across a ‘devastating story’ that she believes to have been leaked by an insider, Harris allegedly responds by ‘briefly freezing out an aide whom she suspected of cooperating with reporters.’
The White House infighting has seemingly distracted Biden’s number two from her high-profile assignments as the upcoming book claims she has struggled to commit when faced with a challenge.
‘Instead of diligently sticking to the Central America assignment, she seemed to accept the conventional wisdom about it,’ Foer wrote.
‘It was a futile gig, so she let it fall to the side, missing an opportunity to grind her way to a meaningful achievement.’
While her tenure has been seen by many as an uphill stuggle, Foer’s assessment lays the blame partially at Biden’s door for failing to give her a platform for success.
While the president has treated her with ‘impeccable respect’, Foer wrote that he ‘simply didn’t hand her the substantive role that he played in the Obama administration.’
‘At the beginning, he said that they would have weekly lunches,’ Foer added. ‘But those began to fall off the schedule.’
Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain was reportedly tasked with showing Harris the vice-presidential ropes after previously working for Biden and Al Gore, and Foer claimed that he saw himself as the administration’s ‘resident expert.’
‘But he struggled to productively help her. He felt Harris kept making life excessively difficult by imposing all sorts of constraints on herself,’ Foer continued.
‘She told him that she didn’t want to work on women’s issues or anything to do with race’ Foer added, despite these issues seen by many as her strong-suit.
‘She wanted her office to be majority female — and to have a Black woman as chief of staff,’ he continued, requests that allegedly irked Klain as he tried to help her.
Foer wrote that, to ‘Klain’s ear, she was creating too many rules, and they made it hard for her to find her footing.’
This dissension has led her to be ‘guided by staff whom she didn’t know and didn’t especially trust’, and has u-turned on her image and amount of responsibility she wants numerous times, Foer wrote.
While constantly searching for a defining issue, Harris has allegedly been ‘reluctant to accept them when they were suggested to her.’ In one instance, Foer claims she requested the low-profile assignment of ‘relations with Scandinavia’ because it was ‘away from the spotlight.’
When she eventually asked for a significant, public role and chose voting rights, the upcoming book claims that Klain ‘balked’, disappointing Harris as it was ‘not the vote of confidence she needed.’
‘The Last Politician’ will be released Tuesday from Penguin Random House.