Biden’s communications director blamed Harris for the dysfunction in the VP’s office, book says
- Biden’s communications director blamed VP Harris for the discord in her office, book says.
- A forthcoming book details Kate Bedingfield’s frustration with the vice president’s office.
- Bedingfield did not directly deny the reporting, but said she has “the utmost respect” for Harris’ work.
President Joe Biden’s communications director Kate Bedingfield faulted Vice President Kamala Harris herself for growing issues in the VP’s office, according to a forthcoming book.
New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns pull back the curtain of the reportedly contentious relationship between Biden and Harris’ teams in their forthcoming book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future” which is due for release in May. Politico Playbook reported on some excerpts from the book about the Biden-Harris tumult on Tuesday.
Biden’s team runs a notoriously leak-proof operation. But beginning in the summer of 2021, reports in outlets including Politico, the Washington Post, and CNN detailed internal dysfunction and discord within Harris’ office, tensions between the vice-president and president’s staff, and Harris’ own dissatisfaction with her portfolio of issues, which include voting rights and immigration.
Bedingfield, Martin and Burns write, quickly became fed up with Harris’ allies openly griping and complaining about her portfolio and her assigned set of issues. Bedingfield, citing the implosion of Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign and the reported discord in her Senate office, also believed that Harris had only herself to blame.
“In private, Bedingfield 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 authors write. “Perhaps, she suggested, the problem was not the vice president’s staff.”
Biden, for his part, was none too pleased with the leaks.
The president, according to the book, told West Wing senior staff on no uncertain terms that if “he found that any of them was stirring up negative stories about the vice president…they would quickly be former staff.”
Bedingfield did not directly deny the substance of the reporting, but said she has “the utmost respect” for Harris’ work.
“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,” Bedingfield told Politico Playbook in an email. “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.”
Harris occupies a unique position as the first woman — and first woman of color — to serve as vice president. When it came to her portfolio, Martin and Burns also write that Harris informed the White House “in frank terms that she did not want to be restricted to a few subjects mainly associated with women and Black Americans.”
The two also report that Biden and Harris have a “friendly but not close” personal relationship, “and their weekly lunches lacked a real depth of personal and political intimacy.”