- Kamala Harris felt slighted by aides not standing when she entered into a room, a new book says.
- “The vice president took it as a sign of disrespect,” Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns wrote.
- Harris’ allies have in recent months attempted a reset of her office, The Washington Post reported.
Vice President Kamala Harris felt slighted by White House aides not standing when she entered into a room, part of a pattern of “perceived snubs” that the former senator was “fixated” on, a forthcoming book by the New York Times correspondents Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns reportedly says.
In the book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” set to be released in May, Martin and Burns describe an increasingly uneasy relationship between Harris’ staff and President Joe Biden’s West Wing. Politico’s West Wing Playbook published excerpts from it on Tuesday.
“Some of Harris’s advisers believed the president’s almost entirely white inner circle did not show the vice president the respect she deserved,” Martin and Burns wrote, according to Politico. “Harris worried that Biden’s staff looked down on her; she fixated on real and perceived snubs in ways the West Wing found tedious.”
According to Politico, the book says Harris had her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, speak with Anita Dunn, a senior advisor to Biden, about her discontent with White House staffers not standing when she entered rooms as they did with the president.
“The vice president took it as a sign of disrespect,” the book says, according to Politico.
Dunn, a well-known Democratic political strategist who served in the White House from January to August 2021, told Playbook that she wasn’t “going to comment except to say that everyone in the West Wing has a high degree of respect for the Vice President and the hard work she is doing for this President and our country.”
She added, “Particularly me.”
Martin and Burns also reportedly detail Harris’ dissatisfaction with her policy agenda, writing that the vice president’s staffers proposed that she oversee relationships with Nordic countries, to no avail. According to Politico, the authors described the proposal as “a low-risk diplomatic assignment that might have helped Harris get adjusted to the international stage in welcoming venues like Oslo and Copenhagen.”
But the idea was not well received, the book says.
“White House aides rejected the idea and privately mocked it,” Martin and Burns wrote, according to Politico. “More irritating to Biden aides was when they learned the vice president wanted to plan a major speech to outline her view of foreign policy. Biden aides vetoed the idea.”
Harris’ office and the White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Since taking office in January 2021, Harris has faced several reports about dysfunction in her office; many allies have characterized them as part of unfair coverage of the first female, first Black, and first Indian American vice president.
In recent months Harris’ team has undertaken a major effort to reset her political trajectory, detailed in a Washington Post report in January. The vice president brought on Jamal Simmons, a longtime Democratic analyst, as her communications director at a time when many felt that her office lacked consistent messaging on her duties and political accomplishments.