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Allies defend Harris after critical New York Times piece


Vice President Harris’s allies rallied around her on Monday in response to a New York Times story in which Democratic officials, many anonymously, questioned her work in office thus far and whether she could be the standard-bearer for the party moving forward. 

The Times reported that “dozens of Democrats in the White House, on Capitol Hill and around the nation — including some who helped put her on the party’s 2020 ticket — said she had not risen to the challenge of proving herself as a future leader of the party, much less the country.”

The piece included an on-the-record quote from John Morgan, a Democratic fundraiser, in which he suggested Harris’s readiness to serve as president would be a major attack line against President Biden in the 2024 election cycle.

“There’s no shortage of people willing to throw shade anonymously and seemingly no shortage of publications willing to write it up and recycle beltway gossip,” tweeted Kirsten Allen, Harris’s press secretary, in response to the article.

“Those still questioning the VP’s role and impact are choosing not to see what is right in front of them,” she added.

Allen went on to link to roughly a dozen news articles highlighting Harris’s work in the administration over the past year, showing how the vice president has led outreach over abortion access after the fall of Roe v. Wade, spoken about efforts to replace lead pipes in water systems, promoted the Biden agenda around the country and abroad, and most recently spoken at the funeral of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police last month.

Symone Sanders, who previously served as Harris’s press secretary and now hosts a show on MSNBC, suggested Harris is facing a fresh set of challenges because she is a “historic 1st” with “historic outside expectations, but works within the reality of the vice presidency.”

Sanders argued it was “laughable” for political sources to suggest they were unaware of Harris’s work.

“I think people should just be honest and say they have chosen not to follow her work closely,” she wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), a longtime Harris ally, added that he was “tired of the BS” criticizing Harris and offered to vouch for her for future stories.

Harris has been dogged by similar news stories throughout her first two years as vice president, with reports focusing on her frequent staff turnover, dysfunction within her office and her difficulties handling complex issues like voting rights and migration from Central America, a matter for which she has been tasked with leading the administration’s response.

A new book by Chris Whipple titled “The Fight of His Life” about the Biden White House further detailed tensions between the president’s staff and the vice president’s team.

Harris’s defenders argue some of those stories have been elevated because she is the first woman and first woman of color to serve in the role, and that the criticisms are rooted in sexism and racism.

But Harris holds a prominent place in Democratic politics as the potential heir apparent to Biden, who was the oldest president to be sworn into office in 2021 and would be 82 at the start of a potential second term. Biden is expected to run again, but it is unclear if Harris would clear the field of challengers if he ultimately decides not to.

Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison came to Harris’s defense on Monday.

“I am proud of our Vice President, and my friend, @KamalaHarris. She has worked tirelessly to deliver for the American people in the Senate, across the country, & overseas,” he tweeted. “She is always there when we need her!”

Source: The Hill

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