For Kamala Harris, a shifting role: Fewer public events with Biden

Noah Bierman and Matt Stiles, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Overall, about 40% of her nearly 500 events have been with Biden, including scores of publicly disclosed lunches and meetings involving the economy, infrastructure or COVID-19. She has also received the President’s Daily Brief — the nation’s classified intelligence summary — more than 60 times with Biden in the Oval Office. This regular briefing accounts for about a third of all her events with Biden, according to the analysis.

As in every administration, Biden and Harris have their own teams of advisers, which can complicate how they gel as leaders. Biden, who was first elected to the Senate in 1972, has had a coterie of advisers for decades while Harris has a small group of people that is largely new to her.

The former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination were not especially close, and had to overcome friction on the debate stage, when Biden chose her as his running mate.

A former Harris adviser, who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive topic, said he remains concerned by an apparent lack of trust between the Biden and Harris operations and by the sense that “she hasn’t been given any all-star portfolio,” a criticism that White House officials dispute.

In addition to selling Biden’s economic and climate agendas, Harris is spearheading efforts to curb Central American migration, which remains at highs not seen in decades, and to lead the fight for voting rights, an area in which congressional Republicans blocked action on Wednesday for the third time this year. White House officials say the tough assignments are signals she has gained trust, while some supporters and outside analysts grumble that they are political losers.

Kevin Madden, a senior communications aide in Republican Sen. Mitt Romney’s two presidential runs who is now an independent, said he believes the White House has not figured out how best to deploy Harris.


“Part of the problem seems to be that the Biden-Harris relationship is a political partnership that’s still ripening,” he said.


(Data and graphics journalist Maloy Moore contributed to this report.)


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