White House defends Kamala Harris after reports claim dysfunction in her office

A report claimed that there is infighting in Kamala Harris' office, and the staffers are low on morale. The White House, however, dismissed any friction between the President and the Vice President.
US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, with the Los Angeles Dodgers during a ceremony at the White House on Friday.(Bloomberg Photo)
US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, with the Los Angeles Dodgers during a ceremony at the White House on Friday.(Bloomberg Photo)
Published on Jul 04, 2021 09:03 AM IST
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By hindustantimes.com | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The White House has moved to defend US Vice President Kamala Harris after media reports claimed there is dysfunction and infighting in her office. The reports are based on the leaks from her office, which talk about growing tension between the officials of President Joe Biden and Harris' team.

In a statement to CNN, deputy press secretary to the vice president Sabrina Singh said that Harris' focus remains on working to build the country's economy along with President Biden. Singh also said that the Biden administration's focus areas include "racial equity, combating the existential threat of climate change and protecting American people from the Covid-19 pandemic".

The tension

A report in Axios claimed that some Biden administration officials are frustrated by the missteps taken by the US Vice President, including some controversial visits. These include a hastily put together visit to the Mexico border in June.

Ahead of the border visit, Harris gave an interview in Guatemala where she compared not going to the US-Mexico border to also not having visited Europe, which further raised eyebrows.

Much of the ire is directed towards the Vice President's chief of staff Tina Flournoy, a veteran of Democratic politics who began working for her earlier this year.

The Axios report has cited interview by Politico where at least 22 current and former aides of Harris described the tense office atmosphere. They said that Harris' team is low on morale and there is diminished trust among officials.

The officials reportedly said that Flournoy refuses to take responsibility and blames staffers for the negative results, according to Politico story. They also held Harris responsible for the way office is being run.

Why suddenly this matters?

US experts and keen watchers of the politics say that Harris is next in line to lead the Democratic party in the 2024 US presidential elections if Biden decides not to contest. He has already said so, and the experts say he'd be 81 when seeking re-election.

The administration also knows that it would be very difficult to unseat the first woman Vice President.

Biden senior adviser Cedric Richmond has already said in an interview that this "whisper campaign" has been designed to sabotage Harris.

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Monday, October 18, 2021