Biden’s communications director blamed Harris for office chaos: book

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield reportedly said that Vice President Kamala Harris was responsible for her public missteps and a toxic work environment in her office, according to a new book.

Details from the forthcoming tome ​“This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future” by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns were reported by Politico Tuesday, as Harris’ office with An exodus of 10 has been struggling employees since this past summer. On Monday, Nancy McEldowney, the vice president’s national security adviser, was the last to resign.

Responding to criticism from Harris’ staff that she was being mismanaged by the White House, Martin and Burns reportedly write: “Bedingfield had noted that the vice presidency was not the first time in Harris’ political career that she had not reached heaven met high expectations.”

“Her Senate office was messy and she [2020] Presidential campaign was a fiasco,” they say. “Perhaps, she suggested, the problem wasn’t the vice president’s staff.”

Vice President Kamala Harris Joe Biden
The book reports that VP Harris and President Biden have a “friendly but not close” personal relationship.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
That will not happen
VP Harris’ office declined to comment to Politico on the book
Simon & Schuster

Bedingfeld contradicted her reported statements in an email to Politico.

“The fact that no one working on this book bothered to invoke this unattributed fact-checking claim tells you what you need to know,” she wrote. “Vice President Harris is a force in this administration and I have the utmost respect for the work she does every day to move the country forward.”

The book reports that cracks began to form in the government’s united front last June after Harris traveled to Mexico and Guatemala to discuss the migration crisis. During the visit, Harris was severely criticized for her response to NBC anchor Lester Holt’s question about when she would visit the US-Mexico border.

President Joe Biden and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield
Bedingfeld, seen here with President Biden, dismissed her reported statements in an email to Politico.
White House / Erin Scott

“And I haven’t been to Europe,” the vice president sarcastically responded to Holt’s statement that she hadn’t visited the border. “And I mean, I don’t understand what you’re getting at. I do not neglect the importance of the border.”

Weeks after Harris’ return, Politico released the first report of disputes in Harris’ office, a story that Martin and Burns say angered Biden.

During an Oval Office meeting with senior staffers, they write, the president warned that if “he found out any of them stirring up negative stories about the vice president … they would quickly be former staffers.”

At the same time, the book states, Harris was increasingly troubled by the hopeless political tasks being entrusted to her.

Vice President Kamala Harris
Ten employees have left VP Harris’ office since last summer.
(Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via AP

“A close senator, who described Harris’ level of frustration as ‘in the stratosphere,’ lamented that Harris’ political decline was a ‘slow Greek tragedy,'” the authors write.

“Their approval ratings were even lower than Biden’s, and other Democrats are eyeing the 2024 race should Biden refuse to run,” they add.

As for the two directors, Martin and Burns report that Harris and Biden have a “friendly but not close” personal relationship, adding that their weekly lunches “lacked a real depth of personal and political intimacy.”

Nancy McEldowney, Kamala Harris National Security Advisor
VP Harris’s national security adviser, Nancy McEldowney, resigned from her post on Monday.
US Department of State

The authors also write that Harris balked at being pigeonholed by the White House, telling the aides, “Frankly, she didn’t want to be limited to a few issues associated primarily with women and black Americans will.”

One initiative the Harris administration spearheaded was an attempt to pass electoral reform that fell through in the Senate earlier this year after moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema refused to change the chamber’s filibuster rule.

Harris blamed the White House for the failure, Martin and Burns report.

“How would she communicate clearly about voting rights legislation, Harris asked West Wing advisers, if the President wouldn’t even say he supports changing Senate rules to pave the way for legislation?” the book reads.

The vice president’s office declined to comment to Politico on the book

The authors also describe First Lady Jill Biden’s dissatisfaction with her husband’s choice to run Harris as a running mate after Harris attacked her husband during a June 2019 presidential debate over his stance on the school bus.​

“In a confidential conversation with a close advisor to her husband’s campaign, the future first lady asked a pointed question,” the book reads. “There are millions of people in the United States,” she began. Why, she asked, do we have to pick whoever attacked Joe?” Biden’s communications director blamed Harris for office chaos: book


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