Vice President Kamala Harris.
Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
Kamala Harris pays close attention to other people’s opinions about her, a new book says.
The vice president has “rabbit ears” for criticism, author Franklin Foer wrote.
The book, which is about Joe Biden’s presidency, delves into the dynamic between him and Harris.
Vice President Kamala Harris has “rabbit ears” for criticism, a new book claims.
Author Franklin Foer writes that Harris is particularly concerned about other people’s opinions about her in his upcoming book “The Last Politician,” per an excerpt first reported on by Fox News.
“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.”
In one instance when Harris read a “devastating story” online about her mismanagement of her team, she “responded by briefly freezing out an aide whom she suspected of cooperating with reporters,” Foer wrote.
“She let the criticism guide her,” he added. “Instead of diligently sticking to the Central America assignment, she seemed to accept the conventional wisdom about it. It was a futile gig, so she let it fall to the side, missing an opportunity to grind her way to a meaningful achievement.”
The book, which is about Joe Biden’s presidency, delves into the dynamic between him and his vice president.
Foer wrote that although Biden treated her with “impeccable respect, he simply didn’t hand her the substantive role that he played in the Obama administration.”
He said that Biden did not need Harris in the same way that Obama had needed him, as Biden had “had helped plug the gaps in Obama’s resume” when he was vice president.
Ron Klain, the former White House Chief of Staff, became Harris’ guide because he had worked for two vice presidents; Biden and Al Gore.
However, he “struggled to productively help her,” Foer wrote, because “he felt Harris kept making life excessively difficult by imposing all sorts of constraints on herself.”
This included her saying she didn’t want to work on women’s issues or anything to do with race, and also wanting her office to be majority female and to have a Black woman as chief of staff.
Foer said that Harris was being guided by staff “whom she didn’t know and didn’t especially trust.”
According to Foer, Harris and Biden initially scheduled weekly lunches when he became president, but they began to fall off the schedule and “Biden didn’t feel especially obligated to coach her along.”
Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.
Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images
On their working relationship, Harris has said that she makes sure Biden gets information that’s “not sugarcoated and not filtered and not through some policy wonk-speak.”
She added that it was important to her “as a partner to the president, that when I’m there and when we’re getting briefed on something, that every aspect of it is made clear in that room.”
She has also claimed that she faces more media scrutiny than previous vice presidents, adding that she wasn’t complaining that it was unfair.
“I think that that is the case. … It’s what it is,” she said. “I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘Oh, you know, it’s not fair,’ because, you know, I am not new to these things.”