Reuters this week published a deep dive into the relationship between President Joe Biden and his vice president Kamala Harris.
The report, co-authored by Reuters White House correspondents Jeff Mason and Nandita Bose, quotes anonymous sources with inside knowledge of the relationship, noting Biden remains frustrated with Harris for not better connecting with the public.
“While the pair have a good working relationship, Democratic sources say Biden has frustrations about some of her work,” the report says. The authors also note Biden’s concern that neither “Harris nor any other Democratic hopefuls” could defeat former President Donald Trump in 2024 is a major reason he will seek reelection himself. Also, weighing on the electoral calculus are concerns that Harris would become president if Biden “cannot fulfill his duties.”
“That reality will hang over their 2024 re-election bid,” the report adds, while noting Harris’s abysmal job approval rating.
“If he did not think she was capable, he would not have picked her. But it is a question of consistently rising to the occasion,” one former official is quoted in the context of Biden’s “frustration.”
“I think his running for re-election is less about her and more about him, but I do think that she and the Democratic bench (are) a factor,” the source added.
Another Democrat “with close ties to the White House” added, “I think this is actually one of the fundamental strategic challenges for [Biden] … how to navigate this. It’s almost impossible for them to make a change.”
“You cannot replace your first Black woman vice president and think that Black people and women are going to just vote for you,” the former official added. “He needs her.”
While both Biden and Harris have publicly stated that if he runs for reelection it will be with Harris on the ticket, pundits and observers have long speculated about the electoral challenge Harris may present Democrats in 2024 and questioned whether or not she remains as vice president.
The Reuters report, however, wasn’t all bad news for Harris. Democratic strategist Lis Smith offered something of a silver lining, telling Mason and Bose that the reelection campaign could go a long way to helping Harris improve her public image and convince Americans she is ready to lead the nation.
The re-election could be her moment to shine. She is at her best when she gets back to her prosecutorial roots and when she can really make a case, and Democrats are going to need to make one hell of a case to win in 2024,” Smith argued.