Now we have a taste for why the knives may be out for Kamala Harris at the White House. According to further excerpts dropped by Politico from the new book by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, the VP apparently wants VIP treatment at all times, and from all comers. Harris apparently wanted equal standing with Joe Biden from White House staffers, literally:
Martin and Burns document an increasingly fraught relationship between the West Wing and the vice president’s office filled with anger, eye-rolling, portfolio feuds, and real and perceived slights.
“Some of Harris’s advisers believed the president’s almost entirely white inner circle did not show the vice president the respect she deserved,” Martin and Burns write. “Harris worried that Biden’s staff looked down on her; she fixated on real and perceived snubs in ways the West Wing found tedious.”
At one point, Harris dispatched Flournoy to talk to top Biden adviser ANITA DUNN to convey displeasure that White House staff was not standing up for Harris when she entered the room the way they did for Biden. “The vice president took it as a sign of disrespect,” according to the excerpt.
Yikes. Does protocol normally require staffers to rise when the Vice President enters anyone’s office? Why would it? Bear in mind that the VP is an elected official but has no official duties or authority in the executive branch. The only formal role for the VP, other than to be on hand in case the president becomes unable to execute his duties, is to preside over the Senate. If the Senate didn’t rise to greet her, that might be a protocol issue.
Imagine being so petty as to consider a seated greeting a snub. And imagine that coming from someone who has done nothing but consistently demonstrate her incompetence at even the relatively mundane tasks of public speaking and handling what duties the president decides to delegate. They have to stand up for Biden, but they don’t work for Harris.
Even more petty was Harris’ complaint about getting the celebrity treatment at Vogue. The most prominent fashion magazine in the world gave Kamala Harris the glamour treatment, but the cover annoyed Harris so much that she had her press secretary complain directly to Anna Wintour, according to Martin and Burns:
Wintour defended the chosen photo of Harris in Converse sneakers and skinny pants as “relatable” in a conversation with incoming Harris press secretary Symone Sanders, according to excerpts of the upcoming book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.”
“Harris was wounded. She felt belittled by the magazine, asking aides: Would Vogue depict another world leader this way?” the book states, according to the excerpts, which were obtained by Politico.
Harris had apparently favored a photo of her in a more formal powder blue suit, which ended up as a limited edition alternative to the sneakers-and-skinny-pants pic, which leaked ahead of the release of the February 2021 issue.
Biden’s team apparently couldn’t believe Harris wanted to start a feud with Wintour as her debut in office:
Incoming chief of staff TINA FLOURNOY was caught “off-guard by the anger in Harris’ circle” and contacted a senior Biden campaign official. Given the country’s myriad crises and the recent January 6th riot at the Capitol, “[t]he Biden adviser told Flournoy that this was not the time to be going to war with Vogue over a comparatively trivial aesthetic issue. Tina, the adviser said, these are first-world problems,” according to the excerpt.
It was an early indication that members of the Biden-Harris teams were on different pages with different priorities. The dynamic didn’t improve from there.
Assuming that these accounts from Martin and Burns are accurate, it’s pretty clear why Biden’s team is leaking these stories. They’re stuck with an addled president and a bumbling VP whose focus so far off the ball that she may as well not even be in the same stadium. The shot selection for the cover of Vogue isn’t a “first world problem” as much as it is an “entitled elite” problem. For an administration that wanted to sell a “Scranton Joe” narrative, the Vogue cover might have already been more of a headache than it was worth even without the feud.
Biden himself might not be throwing an entitled Harris under the bus, but his team suuuuure seems to be doing so. Want to bet that Harris will end up on funeral duty and not much more, at least until after the midterms?