Kamala Harris isn’t returning Elizabeth Warren’s calls after VP slight, report says

Democrats’ consternations about strength of Biden’s 2024 ticket are opening old wounds

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 12 March 2023 21:12 GMT
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A rift has occurred between the vice president’s office and that of Senator Elizabeth Warren, CNN reports, after an offhand remark made by Senator Warren in January apparently caused some already hurt feelings to erupt into a larger issue.

The conflict occurred after the Massachusetts senator told a local Boston radio station her thoughts about President Joe Biden’s 2024 ticket, according to CNN, which reported that rather than wholeheartedly endorse Vice President Kamala Harris remaining on the ticket, deferred instead to Mr Biden’s judgement.

It was a remark that appeared more awkward than malicious or critical, but one that comes as Ms Harris has been under a barrage of negative media attention and criticism from within her own party for months. Her team is extremely sensitive to the idea that the vice president is unpopular with voters and is not ready to take over the top of the ticket should Mr Biden need to step aside for any reason, and for months has endured story after story about Democrats supposedly worried about her and Mr Biden’s ability to win in 2024.

Thumbs down: Senator Elizabeth Warren, left, and Vice President Kamala Harris at a Democratic presidential debate at Texas Southern University in September 2019

Her approval ratings are currently underwater, according to FiveThirtyEight. Put in charge of addressing the migration crisis by Mr Biden, she has become the target of GOP attacks on the issue as the administration is accused of not focusing on border security and stopping illegal crossings.

Part of this is fuelled by Ms Harris’s likely ambition to pursue further national politics, including a potential presidential run, in 2028 or beyond.

According to CNN, her fellow 2020 rival Senator Warren has made two calls to Ms Harris’s office to apologise directly for the remark, only to be directed instead to an aide. The two have not spoken directly, and Ms Harris’s inner circle is reportedly still seething over the remark.

“Pretty insulting,” one Harris ally characterised the quip in a statement to CNN.

The vice president’s official communications team did not comment directly on the reported rift when contacted about the story. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has also been insistant for months that Mr Biden plans to run again in 2024.

Ms Harris ended her 2020 bid for the presidency after an impassioned rebuke of her now-boss’s stance on busing during the Democratic primary debates; though she was considered a potential top-tier contender for the nomination, her campaign was widely reported to have been hindered by chaos at the very top as well as workplace politics.

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