Kamala Harris wasn’t happy with Joe Biden appointing her to address the southern border crisis, wanting a more softball foreign policy assignment, and thinks the president’s ‘white inner circle’ looks down on her, according to claims made in a new book.
During an April meeting with Congressional Black Caucus leaders, Biden praised Harris and said she would do ‘a hell of a job’ handling immigration.
‘The vice president corrected him at once,’ New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns wrote in their new upcoming book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.
”Excuse me,’ she said, ‘it’s the Northern Triangle — not immigration.”
The book also explains that the first minority and female vice president felt belittled by Biden’s white staff.
‘Some of Harris’s advisers believed the president’s almost entirely white inner circle did not show the vice president the respect she deserved,’ they wrote.
‘Harris worried that Biden’s staff looked down on her; she fixated on real and perceived snubs in ways the West Wing found tedious,’ they added, according to excerpts published by Politico on Tuesday.
Biden tasked Harris with addressing immigration – and the vice president took her opportunities to share her dissatisfaction with the role.
According to the book, Harris’ aides felt that the task of addressing the southern border crisis, in any way, was politically undesirable and wanted the vice president to have a more softball foreign policy assignment – like overseeing relations with Nordic countries.
‘Staff floated the possibility of the vice president overseeing relations with the Nordic countries — a low-risk diplomatic assignment that might have helped Harris get adjusted to the international stage in welcoming venues like Oslo and Copenhagen,’ the authors wrote.
They added that the prospect of overseeing Nordic countries was ‘rejected’ by White House aides and even ‘privately mocked.’
‘More irritating to Biden aides was when they learned the vice president wanted to plan a major speech to outline her view of foreign policy,’ they added in the book. ‘Biden aides vetoed the idea.’
A new book details Vice President Kamala Harris takes opportunities to share dissatisfaction with Biden giving her role of ‘border czar’ – and makes sure it’s clear she’s addressing ‘root causes’ in the northern triangle
The border crisis was transferred from Biden’s portfolio to Harris’ shortly after inauguration.
Harris’ team quickly rejected the classification of ‘border czar’, making sure that it was known she was only looking at root causes of migration in Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Martin and Burns write that Harris does ‘not hesitate to chide Biden for characterizing her assignment’ in terms of addressing immigration.
The book comes amid several reports of tensions between Harris and Biden’s staff – and even the president and vice president themselves. The new details in the upcoming publication describe an increasingly fraught relationship filled with anger, eye-rolling, portfolio feuds and slights.
Harris’ office, the book claims, also kicked up a fuss over a Vogue cover that pictured the vice president in sneakers before being told to back down by Biden’s office who said concerns over the cover were ‘first world problems’.
In the weeks before Inauguration Day, Harris was featured on an issue of Vogue, but the vice president was reportedly caught off-guard when a leaked image of the cover depicted her most casual look from the photo shoot, donning black converse and black skinny pants.
The photo, as the Vogue reporters wrote, portrayed ‘an approachable but less than grand depiction of the incoming vice president.’
Harris had been expecting a more stately-looking photo to make the cover, where she wore a powder blue suit with her arms crossed in front of her. ‘Harris was wounded. She felt belittled by the magazine, asking aides: Would Vogue depict another world leader this way?’ New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns write in their forthcoming book, ‘This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.’
Still, it had been Harris’ staff that picked out her outfits, not the in-house team at Vogue.
Harris’ debut on Vogue sparked outrage across the internet, with some accusing the magazine of ‘lightening’ the vice president’s skin and other accusing Vogue of ‘lazy’ editing.
Harris’ incoming press secretary Symone Sanders took the matter straight to Anna Wintour, Vogue’s illustrious editor-in-chief. Wintour pushed back, admitting that she’d chosen the cover herself because she thought it made Harris look ‘relatable,’ according to excerpts from the book provided to Politico.
In the weeks before Inauguration Day, Harris was to be featured on an issue of Vogue, but the vice president was reportedly caught off-guard when a leaked image of the cover depicted her most casual look from the photo shoot
‘Disrespectful’: Vogue released two covers, one for the print issue, and one digital alternative (pictured), which is the image that Harris, 56, and her team had approved
A source in the vice president’s office told DailyMail.com that Harris had specifically requested the blue suit photo and only learned that the Converse photo was being used on the cover after it leaked online. However, a Vogue insider denied that Harris’ team ever requested photo or cover approval, and insisted that a specific cover shot had not been agreed upon.
Incoming chief of staff Tina Fluornoy got in touch with a senior Biden campaign official. But Biden was in the midst of a major policy upheaval at the onset of his administration, not to mention the nation was focused on the recent Jan. 6 attack and the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘[T]he Biden adviser told Flournoy that this was not the time to be going to war with over a comparatively trivial aesthetic issue. Tina, the adviser said, these are first-world problems,’ according to the excerpt.
The Vogue cover was just the first of many disagreements to come between the offices of the president and vice president.
Harris even sent out Fluornoy to scold Biden’s staffers for not standing up when she entered the room, the way they do for the president. ‘The vice president took it as a sign of disrespect,’ according to the book. Fluornoy reached out to Biden adviser Anita Dunn.
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour admitted that she’d chosen the cover herself because she thought it made Harris look ‘relatable’
In comments to Politico, Dunn did not confirm or deny the conversation. She said she wasn’t ‘going to comment except to say that everyone in the West Wing has a high degree of respect for the Vice President and the hard work she is doing for this President and our country. Particularly me.’
Then amid leaked reports of chaos, toxicity and dysfunction in the VP’s office, Biden himself called in his staff and threatened to fire anyone who went to the press with damaging information.
Gripes among Harris staffers were that they had been handed an ‘impossible’ portfolio.
The president has on multiple occasions been accused of punting critical but over-broad tasks to his deputy, notably including solving the southwestern border crisis, voting rights, leading a pro-union task force and chairing the National Space Council.
But Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield privately blamed Harris herself for failing to meet the bar set for her, according to the book.
‘In private, Bedingfeld 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,’ the journalists write.
‘Perhaps, she suggested, the problem was not the vice president’s staff.’
The Biden aide criticized the reporting in a statement 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. Vice President Harris is a force in this administration and I have the utmost respect for the work she does every day to move the country forward.’
The president reportedly hauled staffers into the Oval Office in after a story emerged in the outlet in June painting Harris’ office as an ‘abusive environment.’
Biden warned senior staff that if ‘he found that any of them was stirring up negative stories about the vice president’ then ‘they would quickly be former staff.’
The book describes the pair’s relationship as ‘friendly but not close.’
New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns even quote Biden’s communications director as blaming Harris herself for the dysfunction
‘Their weekly lunches lacked a real depth of personal and political intimacy,’ the authors wrote — a notable departure from the president’s characteristic warmth.
Harris lost her tenth staffer since June on Monday with the departure of national security adviser Nancy McEldowney.
It comes after news broke last week of Harris’ deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh’s departure from the administration.
During her years as a freshman senator from California, Harris had been lauded for her prosecutorial skills that were on display during Congressional hearings.
In that first term Harris cast herself into the 2020 presidential race. Initial enthusiasm surrounding her candidacy quickly fizzled out amid a crowded Democratic primary field, and she dropped out in December 2019 citing a lack of funds.
And once Biden took office, Harris’ trailblazing status as the first black, Asian and female vice president was quickly overshadowed by both her and the president’s low poll numbers and a number of public gaffes.
During her trip to Guatemala in June, Harris invoked outrage among immigration activists when she told people there during a speech, ‘Do not come’ to the US.