Psaki won’t say if Biden would support a Harris ’24 or ’28 WH bid

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Psaki won't say if Biden would support a Harris '24 or '28 WH bid

Press secretary Jen Psaki was noncommittal Monday when a reporter asked if President Biden would support a presidential bid by Kamala Harris down the road amid reports that his vice president is feeling iced out in the White House.

Psaki’s comments during Monday’s daily press briefing were in response to Fox News’ Peter Doocy asking if Harris could “expect” Biden’s automatic endorsement for president if she decides to run in 2024 or 2028. 

“Well, first of all, the president selected the vice president because — to serve as his running mate because he felt she was exactly the person he wanted to have by his side to govern the country,” Psaki began, calling Harris a “key partner” and “bold leader” while touting the vice president’s work on voting rights and migration in the Northern Triangle. 

“I don’t have any predictions of whether she will run [or] when she will run,” Psaki added rather than directly answering the question. “I will leave that to her. But I can tell you that there’s been a lot of reports out there and they don’t reflect his view or our experience with the vice president.” 

Psaki's comments come amid reported tension in the White House between Biden and Harris.
Psaki’s comments come amid reported tension in the White House between Biden and Harris.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Doocy pressed further, asking the press secretary if the White House has not heard “that the vice president or key members of her staff are unhappy.” 

“Here’s what I know, Peter, I know that the president relies on the vice president for her advice, for her counsel. She’s somebody who is not only taking on issues that are challenging, she’s not looking for a cushy role here — no vice president is, no president is — and that she’s somebody that is a valuable member of the team,” Psaki said, adding that the president expects to see her out in the country touting his Build Back Better agenda. 

The day before the briefing, Psaki issued a seemingly urgent Sunday night defense of Harris on Twitter, following the initial reports. 

“For anyone who needs to hear it. @VP is not only a vital partner to @POTUS but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country—from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband,” she tweeted.

Psaki called Harris a “key partner” of President Biden.
Psaki called Harris a “key partner” of President Biden.
Photo by LAURENT ZABULON/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

On Sunday, CNN reported Harris was feeling isolated in the West Wing as her approval ratings plummet, after interviewing nearly three dozen insiders. 

“It’s hard to miss the specific energy that the White House brings to defend a white man, knowing that Kamala Harris has spent almost a year taking a lot of the hits that the West Wing didn’t want to take themselves,” a former Harris aide told the outlet. 

The report revealed Biden has been sidelining Harris, frustrating her allies. 

“They’re consistently sending her out there on losing issues in the wrong situations for her skill set,” one former top Harris aide said. 

Biden and Harris appearing together at the  the signing ceremony for the infrastructure bill on November 15, 2021.
Biden and Harris appearing together at the signing ceremony for the infrastructure bill on November 15, 2021.
Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Other aides say the vice president should have asked for better-defined responsibilities at the start of the administration, but has not done so out of fear of appearing disloyal to the president.

Harris has not released a statement on the reports, but spokeswoman Symone Sanders dismissed them.

“It is unfortunate that after a productive trip to France in which we reaffirmed our relationship with America’s oldest ally and demonstrated US leadership on the world stage, and following passage of a historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create jobs and strengthen our communities, some in the media are focused on gossip — not on the results that the president and the vice president have delivered,” Sanders said.

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