Kamala Harris has spent her time as vice president obsessing over her public image and frustrating advisers with demands, according to a bombshell new book.
Harris’ “bunny ears” have reportedly angered the White House over criticism, and she is said to pick up on any negative news or complaints about her leadership style almost immediately.
“She let criticism guide her,” writes journalist Franklin Foer in his forthcoming book The Last Politician, adding that she angered Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, by “making life unduly difficult by making herself imposed all sorts of constraints”.
Harris, 58, reportedly struggled to find her feet as she vacillated between a lack of commitment to high-profile roles, such as her role as Biden’s “Grenzzar,” and a shyness from the limelight.
Though Biden is widely believed to keep her on the list for his re-election in 2024, Harris has allegedly embarrassed the administration by demanding it distance itself from “women’s issues or anything racial.” , while at the same time wanting her post to be female-majority, with a black woman as chief of staff.
Harris’ “bunny ears” have reportedly angered the White House over criticism, and she is said to pick up on any negative news or complaints about her leadership style almost immediately
Joe Biden speaks during an event to celebrate the drug price cut August 29 in the East Room of the White House
When President Biden was nominated for vice president by then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008, the conventional wisdom was that the veteran senator was chosen to bolster Obama’s relatively short political career.
But the same isn’t true of Harris, according to Foer, who wrote that while Biden “helped fill in the gaps in Obama’s support,” the current president “didn’t need Harris in the same way Obama needed Biden.”
This allegedly led to a disjointed run for vice president, during which Harris became paranoid about the optics of her candidacy, Foer claimed, leading to what one of her colleagues described as “bunny ears.”
“Whenever there was a tinge of criticism directed at her – whether in the West Wing or in the press – she seemed immediately aware of it,” he wrote.
“Rather than push it aside, she wanted to know who was badmouthing them and what they were saying.”
Whenever she comes across a “devastating story” that she believes was leaked by an insider, Harris reportedly responds by “briefly freezing an employee she suspects of working with reporters.”
The White House power struggle has apparently distracted Biden’s number two from her high-profile duties, as the forthcoming book claims she has struggled to commit when faced with a challenge.
“Rather than zealously clinging to the Central America task, she seemed to accept conventional wisdom on it,” Foer wrote.
“It was a futile performance, so she let it go and missed an opportunity to carve out a meaningful win.”
While her tenure has been seen by many as an uphill struggle, Foer’s assessment places some of the blame on Biden for failing to provide her with a platform for success.
While the president treated her with “impeccable respect,” Foer wrote that he “simply didn’t give her the substantive role that he played in the Obama administration.”
“In the beginning he said there would be lunches weekly,” Foer added. “But these started to get off schedule.”
Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, was reportedly hired to show Harris the vice presidential role, having previously worked for Biden and Al Gore, and Foer claimed he sees himself as the administration’s “resident expert.”
“But he struggled to help her productively. “He felt that Harris kept making life overly difficult for herself by pushing all sorts of constraints on herself,” Foer continued.
“She told him she didn’t want to delve into women’s issues or anything related to race,” Foer added, although those issues were considered by many to be her forte.
“She wanted her office to be mostly women — and a black woman to be her chief of staff,” he continued, reportedly prompting Klain when he tried to help her.
Foer wrote that she made “too many rules for Klain that made it difficult for her to gain traction.”
That disagreement has resulted in her being “managed by co-workers she didn’t know and didn’t particularly trust,” and has repeatedly altered her image and the level of responsibility she desires, Foer wrote.
While she was constantly searching for a crucial topic, Harris was reportedly reluctant to “accept these when they were proposed to her.” In one case, Foer claims she applied for the low profile ‘relations with Scandinavia’ task because it was ‘away from the limelight’.
When she finally auditioned for a major, public role and opted for the voting rights, the upcoming book claims Klain was “reluctant” and disappointed Harris because it “wasn’t the vote of confidence she needed.”
“The Last Politician” will be published by Penguin Random House on Tuesday.