Vice President Kamala Harris was brought into Joe Biden’s presidential campaign to appeal to leftist progressives like those she represents in California. While Harris is excellent at prioritizing the leftist agenda, she’s not so great at getting moderates on board.
Case in point, Harris made a major misstep in West Virginia when she made an appearance on one of the state’s radio stations to backhandedly pressure Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) into supporting Biden’s coronavirus deal — potentially alienating both Manchin and his fellow WV Democrats from their constituents for good.
Behind Joe’s back
Just ten days after being sworn in, Harris is already raising the hackles of Republicans and Moderate Democrats nationwide.
Manchin responded to Harris’s spontaneous interview with surprise, indicating that he was not receptive to Biden administration officials stepping into his state without consulting him on the matter.
“I saw [the interview], I couldn’t believe it,” Manchin said afterward. “No one called me [about it]. We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, but we need to work together. That’s not a way of working together.”
Manchin already has a very tenuous position as a Democrat senator in a very red state, and Harris’s meddling could have far-reaching consequences for the future of the party.
As a moderate Democrat that leans on the conservative side of many hot-button issues, Manchin will be an important name to pay attention to in the next two years in an evenly split Senate.
The Washington Examiner’s Tiana Lowe noted that “West Virginia is an R +19 state, and if Harris wants to wrangle Manchin into a vote that ensures a Democrat never represents West Virginia in the Senate, that’s a 2024 problem.”
“But Biden and Harris have to govern right now, and even if they believe they can squeak this thing through reconciliation, a feat that still seems dubious as a matter of procedure, Democrats still need Manchin’s vote so Harris can come in and break the tie,” Lowe concluded.
Not the only gaffe
Not only did Harris offend a key player in the Senate right out of the gate, but she also managed to gravely insult the people of West Virginia in the short radio appearance as well.
Harris spoke glowingly of Biden’s green energy agenda — one that’s notably unfriendly to the type of energy production that takes place in the Mountain State — and told listeners that those who will lose their jobs under Biden’s administration can “transfer” their skills to “reclaiming abandoned land mines,” attempting to refer to abandoned strip mines but instead invoking underground explosives typically found in war zones.
“All of those skilled workers who are in the coal industry and transferring those skills to what we need to do in terms of reclaiming abandoned land mines,” Harris said. “What we need to do around plugging leaks from oil and gas wells, and transferring those important skills to the work that has yet to be done, and needs to get done.”