White House staff say Kamala Harris has ‘rabbit ears’ for criticism, claims bombshell new book, and reveals her demands for a majority female office and black chief of staff
Kamala Harris spent her time as vice president obsessed with her public image and frustrating aides with demands, a new book claims.
The White House has reportedly been annoyed by Harris’s “rabbit ears” over the criticism, and she would be aware almost immediately of any negative news or complaints about her management style.
“She was guided by the criticism,” writes journalist Franklin Foer in his forthcoming book The Last Politician, adding that she has annoyed Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain by “making life extremely difficult by imposing all sorts of restrictions on herself.”
Harris, 58, has reportedly struggled to find her balance as she fluctuates between failing to follow through on high-profile assignments, such as her role as Biden’s “border czar,” and shunning the spotlight.
While it is widely expected that Biden will keep her on the ticket for his 2024 re-election bid, Harris is said to have wrong-footed the administration by demanding to distance herself from “women’s issues or anything to do with race,” when she wanted that her office should consist of a majority of women. with a black woman as chief of staff.
The White House has reportedly been annoyed by Harris’s “bunny ears” over the criticism, and she would be aware of any negative news story or complaints about her management style almost immediately.
Joe Biden speaks at an event celebrating the drug price cut in the East Room of the White House on Aug. 29
When President Biden was asked by then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008 to become vice president, the conventional wisdom was that the veteran senator was chosen to bolster Obama’s rather short political resume.
But the same cannot be said of Harris, according to Foer, who wrote that while Biden “helped close the gaps in Obama’s support,” the current president “didn’t need Harris in the same way that Obama needed Biden.”
This has reportedly led to a disjointed run as VP, with Harris becoming paranoid about the optics of her run, Foer claimed, leading to “what one of her colleagues described as ‘bunny ears’ to criticism.”
“Anytime there was the slightest hint of criticism of her—whether in the West Wing or in the press—she seemed immediately aware of it,” he wrote.
“Instead of brushing it aside, she wanted to know who was talking bad about her 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 aide she suspected was working with reporters.”
The White House infighting has seemingly distracted Biden’s number two from her high-profile assignments, as the forthcoming book claims she has trouble committing when faced with a challenge.
“Instead of diligently adhering to the command in Central America, she seemed to accept the conventional wisdom about it,” Foer wrote.
“It was a pointless performance, so she left it aside and missed an opportunity to work her way into a meaningful performance.”
While her tenure is seen by many as an uphill battle, Foer partly blames Biden for failing to provide her with a platform for success.
While the president has treated her with “impeccable respect,” Foer wrote that he “simply failed to give her the substantial role he played in the Obama administration.”
“At first he said they would have lunch once a week,” Foer added. “But they started to fall out of the schedule.”
Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, was reportedly tasked with showing Harris the ropes of the vice presidency after previously working for Biden and Al Gore, and Foer claimed he saw himself as the administration’s “resident expert” .
“But he struggled to help her productively. He felt that Harris was making life extremely difficult by imposing all sorts of restrictions on himself,” Foer continued.
“She told him she didn’t want to work on women’s issues or anything related to race,” Foer added, despite these issues being seen by many as her strong point.
“She wanted her office to be mostly women — and for a black woman to be chief of staff,” he continued, requests that reportedly irked Klain when he tried to help her.
Foer wrote that “In Klain’s eyes, Klain created too many rules, making it difficult for her to find her balance.”
This disagreement has led her to be “led by staff she did not know and do not particularly trust,” and has upended her image and the degree of responsibility she craves on multiple occasions, Foer wrote.
Constantly looking for a defining problem, Harris would have been “reluctant to accept them when presented to her.” In one case, Foer claims she asked for the unremarkable “relations with Scandinavia” assignment because it was “out of the limelight.”
When she finally asked for a major, public role and chose the right to vote, the forthcoming book claims that Klain “declined,” which disappointed Harris as it “wasn’t the vote of confidence she needed.”
The Last Politician is out Tuesday at Penguin Random House.