Amid concerns about his advancing age and apparent cognitive decline, President Joe Biden’s campaign was frequently the target of speculation that he would be little more than a figurehead in the White House.
Those rumors received some added oxygen this week when reports surfaced that Vice President Kamala Harris took a lead role during a recent high-level conversation.
“Close bilateral and multilateral cooperation”
According to Fox News, she held a telephone conference with French President Emmanuel Macron — apparently without Biden even being included in the call.
A White House statement confirmed the call, stating that the two world leaders “agreed on the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support democracy at home and around the world.”
The Biden administration went on to note that Harris and Macron “discussed numerous regional challenges including those in the Middle East and Africa, and the need to confront it together.”
Notably, the statement made no mention of any involvement by the president.
As Fox News explained, Biden held a separate call with Macron on Jan. 24.
“To build a better future for our two countries”
For her part, the vice president tweeted about the conversation, writing: “Today I spoke with President [Macron] of France. We discussed COVID-19, climate change, supporting democracy at home and around the world, and regional challenges.”
Harris further affirmed that she and Biden “look forward to working with President Macron to build a better future for our two countries.”
The French president is not the first world leader to hold a solo conversation with Harris since Inauguration Day, according to reports. She also spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he held his own conversation with the incoming president.
Suspicions that Biden’s vice president would take an outsized role began to surface shortly after he launched his campaign roughly two years ago.
As the oldest president to be elected to a first term, he became increasingly notorious for frequent gaffes and other bizarre statements on the campaign trail. Some notable examples included forgetting which state he was in, confusing his wife for his sister, and telling voters he was running for the U.S. Senate.