Book: The Biden Administration’s Frustration with Kamala Harris’ Sensitivity to Criticism

In a forthcoming book titled “The Last Politician” by journalist Franklin Foer, it is disclosed that Vice President Kamala Harris displays an increased sensitivity to criticism, causing significant friction within President Joe Biden’s administration.

Foer contends that Harris’s excessive preoccupation with her colleagues’ perception of her has resulted in unfavorable comparisons, likening her to a specific furry mammal known for its prominent, Obama-esque ears.

“Harris possessed what one of her colleagues described as ‘rabbit ears,’” Foer wrote. “Whenever there was a hint of criticism of her — either in the West Wing or in the press — she seemed instantly aware of it,” Foer said. This acute awareness often led her to seek out those who might be speaking negatively about her.

“Rather than brushing it aside, she wanted to know who was speaking ill of her and what they were saying,” Foer said. Such sensitivity was evident when Harris, after reading a critical article about her team’s management, sidelined an aide she believed had collaborated with journalists.

Foer noted, “She allowed criticism to shape her actions.” Harris’s handling of her responsibilities concerning Central America serves as an illustration of this. Rather than fully dedicating herself to the task, she permitted external viewpoints to sway her choices, resulting in a missed opportunity for significant accomplishments.

Additionally, Foer delves into the dynamics between Biden and Harris, highlighting that while Biden treated Harris with utmost respect, he did not delegate to her the influential role he had assumed during the Obama administration.

“He didn’t need Harris in the same way Obama needed Biden,” Foer said.

Ron Klain, well-versed in the nuances of the vice-presidential role, made efforts to provide guidance and mentorship to Harris.

“He thought of himself as the building’s resident expert on the vice presidency, having worked for both Al Gore and Joe Biden as they sat in the second chair,” Foer said. However, Klain found it challenging to assist Harris effectively. Harris’ self-imposed constraints, such as her reluctance to handle women’s issues or racial matters and her desire for a predominantly female office with a black woman as chief of staff, perplexed Klain.

“To Klain’s ear, she was creating too many rules, and they made it hard for her to find her footing,” Foer said.

The vice president’s pursuit of a clearly defined role became apparent through her repeated endeavors to broaden her responsibilities. Harris demonstrated her interest in overseeing relations with Scandinavia, desiring a role that was less prominent. However, when she initially sought a substantial role in handling voting rights, Klain’s initial hesitation eroded her confidence.

“But she was being guided by staff whom she didn’t know and didn’t especially trust,” Foer said. This lack of trust extended to Biden, who, despite initial promises of weekly meetings, gradually reduced their frequency.

The vice president’s office and the White House have yet to comment on these revelations. Readers can anticipate the release of “The Last Politician” by Penguin Random House this coming Tuesday.