Democrats are increasingly concerned that Vice President Kamala Harris’s missteps will open the door for Republicans to get the White House back, a new report said Friday.
Dems, including senior White House officials, fear Harris will lose to every Republican she meets — including former President Donald Trump — if President Biden does not run for re-election in 2024, Axios reported:.
At 56, Harris has been Biden’s junior for more than two decades — and is considered the heir to the 46th president since choosing her as his running mate last year.
While Harris will still be the presumptive candidate if Biden becomes the first president since Lyndon Johnson not to run for a second full term, Axios reports that a series of blunders officials and agents concerned.
Right now, an agent told Axios, the feeling among Democrats is not, “Oh no, our heir apparent is sedating, what are we going to do?” It’s more like people think, ‘Oh, she f-ing up, maybe she shouldn’t be the heir apparent.’”
Harris has been repeatedly criticized for her handling of the illegal immigration crisis along the US-Mexico border, a problem Biden dumped on her lap in March by instructing her to address the “root causes” of the problem.
The vice president initially ignored calls to visit the area, instead traveling to Guatemala and Mexico last month. While she’s there took away more questions about when she would visit the border, telling NBC’s Lester Holt that “I haven’t been to Europe” before adding, “I don’t understand the point you’re making.”
That moment, that at least one commenter described as worthy of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character on the HBO show “Veep,” was followed last week by Harris traveling to El Paso, a perfunctory visit that left her hundreds of miles from the epicenter of the border crisis. Then, earlier this week, Politico fell an explosive report that described Harris’s office as “chaotic” with a “tense and at times stern” atmosphere.
“People are thrown under the bus from above, there are short fuses and it’s a violent environment,” one of Politico’s nearly two dozen sources told the outlet. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported, but a place where people feel treated like sh-t.”
According to Axios, several White House officials have also described Harris’s office like a “sh-t show,” poorly managed and staffed with people who don’t know the vice president well.
Much of the blame has fallen on Harris’s chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, who is portrayed as being so controlling and overly protective of the VP that requests for meetings and friendly interviews go unanswered for weeks. Flournoy has also been accused of rejecting or ignoring ideas from staff and refusing to delegate responsibility.
The Democratic officials who spoke to Axios said that, in addition to Harris’ “handling of high-profile issues and deafness of political tone,” they fear she has received bad advice from her. press and communication people.
Harris still has her defenders, including senior adviser and chief spokesman Symone Sanders, as well as senior White House adviser Cedric Richmond, who accused unnamed people of conducting “a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.”
“At some point it just becomes, someone says something long enough and it becomes an urban legend. It doesn’t have to be believable. It doesn’t have to be real. Someone says something and it might just snowball,” Richmond told Axios, later adding, “You just hope if there’s legitimate criticism they’d put their name next to it.”
Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain praised Harris unconditionally, telling Axios she had “the fastest and strongest start of any vice president I’ve seen.”
At a news conference Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Harris “an incredibly important partner to the President of the United States. She has a challenging job, a tough job, and she has a great, supportive team of people around her.
“But other than that,” Psaki added, “I’m not going to comment on those reports anymore.”