Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is widely viewed as the frontrunner for the role of Joe Biden’s running mate — but that doesn’t mean everyone is pleased with the prospect of a Harris vice presidency.
According to The Hill, the Democrat senator appeared to respond to criticism that she is “too ambitious” on Friday when she announced to an audience of young Black women that they will face “resistance” to their ambitions.
“There will be a resistance to your ambition. There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane,'” she said at a virtual event that occurred as part of the Black Women Lead 2020 conference, according to The Hill. “They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be.
“But don’t you let that burden you,” Harris added. “I want you to be ambitious.”
“Pushing against Kamala”
The remarks came following criticism that Harris, who is 55, isn’t ready for a role in the White House. As The Hill noted, Harris would be the first woman and first Black American to hold the role of VP, if selected and elected.
But The Hill pointed to a report published last week by CNBC that alleged that Biden insiders think Harris is “too ambitious and that she will be solely focused on eventually becoming president.”
Insiders have also allegedly expressed concern about Harris’ “attacks on Biden during a primary debate last year, bringing into question her loyalty to the former vice president,” CNBC reported. Biden, the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee, is already facing an uphill battle for the White House as the coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on the 2020 campaign season.
Biden previously promised to select a woman as his running mate, and in recent months he has faced mounting calls to select a woman of color, a box Harris checks. But according to CNBC, there are at least a dozen prominent Biden backers who want the former VP to pick someone other than Harris.
“I think a good number of people closest to Joe are pushing against Kamala, including me,” an unnamed Chicago businessman told CNBC. “I don’t like her, and I don’t like the way she campaigned. She seems not loyal at all and very opportunistic.”
Questions of Harris’ loyalty have indeed swirled since her infamous attack on Biden in a June 2019 primary debate, during which she mounted allegations of racism and harped on Biden’s opposition to a federal busing program that forced the desegregation of public schools in the 1970s, as Politico reported. Later, former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dobbs (D), a Biden ally, said Harris “had no remorse” for the incident. “She laughed and said, ‘That’s politics,'” he told Politico.
Harris’ line of attack bore all the hallmarks of a preplanned ambush — especially considering that her campaign almost immediately released t-shirts memorializing the incident, as Politico noted — and it seems some in Biden’s camp haven’t gotten over it.
Others said to be on Biden’s shortlist for VP include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Florida Rep. Val Demings, and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, according to a July report from Al Jazeera. Only time will tell who Biden chooses — but in the meantime, it’s safe to assume Harris won’t be backing down.