Womenz Magazine

What Kamala Harris Has Learned About Being Vice President

Everyone expects Harris to run for president again one day, but her job requires her to avoid even the appearance of preparing for her political future. Because Kamala Harris spends most of her Air Force Two flights in that office, with the door closed. That’s why she doesn’t work the plane, the way Joe Biden or even Mike Pence did.

So, Air force two is a smaller plane than Air Force One. The outside is the same light-blue and white, but unlike the commander in chief’s plane, but having said that the vice president’s aircraft is open plan from the back, you can see to the front, where a small office doubles as a bedroom. For Easter weekend the vice president flew on Air Force Two to Los Angeles then to Oakland, her hometown, for events the following Monday.

California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis started a round of applause as Harris strode down the stairs, the angle of her head and the pace of her step slow-moving. For the time being Kounalakis was still flowing when I caught up with her by phone a week later. “She carries the mantle of this big job in a way that seems very natural,” she told.

“To arrive with so much pomp and circumstance, but then to go to a water-treatment plant and then a small business the juxtaposition underscores the work at the center of her start on the job.” “She generally will ask very good, very pointed questions in meetings with staff. And she will follow up on his questions ‘I think what the president wants to find out is X,’” One of Biden’s closest advisers, Anita Dunn,

who told me that: “She does have a bit of that prosecutorial ‘I can sense a weakness in an argument? And I’m going to push that weakness to make sure that when the president goes out with that argument, it’s been fleshed out and thought through.’” A few weeks ago, in Chicago, she made uncomfortable small talk at a vaccination site with a window washer. She asked what the tallest building he’d ever worked on was.

“Trump Tower,” down by the river, he told her. She asked him how he’d gotten to the top. “Do you go up to go down,” she asked even if, “or do you go down to go up?” The woman who launched her presidential crusade to 22,000 people packing the streets of Oakland about three times more people than showed up for Biden’s launch has had to adjust to a bit smaller role than the one she once campaigned for then yet.

On the other hand, having said that if Biden’s presidency succeeds, Harris will be on a glide path to the Democratic nomination and potentially the White House. If it doesn’t, her vice presidency could end her political career. The vice president and her team tend to dismiss reporters because they are trying to get her to take a few questions after events are treated as an act of rude invasion.

And Harris herself tracks political players and reporters whom she thinks don’t fully understand her or appreciate her life experience. (I was told that she often mentions an episode in which a Washington Post reporter mistook the cheer of the historic Black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha for “screeches,”.) She particularly doesn’t like the word cautious, and aide’s lookout for synonyms too. Careful, guarded, and hesitant don’t go over well.

 But she continues to retreat behind talking points and dullness in public and declines as many as she could for interview requests and opportunities to speak for herself (including for this article).  Harris has been an elected official for 18 years straight, but having said that seems she has only a few senior aides on staff who have worked for her for more than a few months. 

Turf battles have been a recurring feature of Harris offices over the years, but her latest circle believes it is finally getting her on track after years of past staffers not serving her well. In an interview with prospective hires, she asks, “Who are you?” pressing for details of their life story, what makes them want the job they’re chasing. She tries hard to teach new aides about how she thinks.

When they sit down for a meeting, she tells them: “Take a moment and look for who isn’t at the table, who isn’t represented. Imagine you’re visiting the home of someone whose wedding you attended. You page through the album out on the coffee table. Does their vision of their celebration include you? That’s what policy is like, she tells them: All sorts of Americans are watching the administration’s actions, trying to see if they’re included in its vision”.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana appeared at a press conference with a mock-up milk carton that declared Harris missing at the border. On the other hand, Harris’s staff currently told reporters that the border was part of her assignment. Republicans keen to create the news narrative of a “border crisis” asked that Harris visit a restraint facility or inspect some extent of land where Donald Trump’s wall would supposedly have gone.

According to some views Harris hasn’t spoken with Republican leaders about the border, her aides say now because she was never supposed to be dealing with the border issues and she was assumed to be handling migration-related diplomacy with Latin American countries.

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