Democrats are counting on a scenario Vice President Kamala Harris will become heir to Joe Biden as U.S. president and continue to run for the White House in 2024, but they are concerned that she cannot defeat a Republican nominee.
According to Fox News, Democrats close to the White House said they do not believe she can represent the Democratic Party to beat the Republican Party in the next election, even if her opponent is former President Donald Trump.
Fox News cited Axios, the first revealing the issue, reporting that the Democrats are concerned about Harris’ mishandling of politically sensitive issues and “political tone-deafness.”
Some officials have been frustrated by her series of missteps. One liberal operative said that most Democrats are not saying, “‘Oh, no, our heir apparent is [expletive] up, what are we gonna do?” but instead think, “Oh, she’s [expletive] up, maybe she shouldn’t be the heir apparent.'”
Though Biden aides think he will be the Democrats’ nominee again in 2024, he would be 81 when seeking reelection, so Harris would have a foot in the door for the presidential nomination if Biden were to step aside.
Reports have surfaced of tensions between the West Wing and the vice president’s office. Several Biden officials describe the Harris’s office as poorly-managed and staffed with people who do not have long-term relationships with her. They feel Harris is getting bad advice from her press and communications shop.
Much of the criticism was directed at Harris’ chief of staff Tina Flournoy, who aides claimed has “effectively shut out” some of the vice president’s allies in politics and business and contributed to a culture “where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out.”
But top administration officials are defending Harris. The White House chief of staff Ron Klain said, “the president’s trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together.”
Biden senior adviser Cedric Richmond described reports of tensions and mistrust as “a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.”
Harris’ team also defended Harris, noting that Biden has entrusted the vice president with a portfolio that includes voting rights, migration from Central America, space, labor, broadband, small-business assistance, and women in the workforce.