New York Times political correspondents Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns alleged in their soon to be released book This Shall Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future that President Joe Biden had reservations about choosing Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate because of her previous romantic relationship with longtime San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
Biden was concerned that Brown had appointed Harris to two positions in the city while they were dating, and that those actions could appear to be improper.
He said that the appointments were “the kind of thing that should be off limits” when choosing a running mate.
Brown appointed Harris to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and then to the Medical Assistance Commission when he was Assembly Speaker–both were well-paid positions from which she grew her influence.
The pair broke up in 1995 before Brown became mayor and years before Harris was elected as district attorney. Brown did say he helped her with her campaign for DA even though they were no longer together.
Harris held several other positions in city government before being elected district attorney in 2003. Those positions included chief of the Career Criminal Division in the DA’s office and chief of the Division on Children and Families in the city attorney’s office.
Harris’s defenders say that criticism of her relationship with Brown is “sexist,” and Biden advisor, now chief of staff Ron Klain pushed hard for Harris’s selection as Biden’s running mate because the campaign felt she was the best choice for the position.
“Choosing Harris will show people that you are magnanimous and forgiving,” the book says Klain told Biden. “It will show the country just what a unifying leader you can be.”
Harris was selected over objections from Jill Biden as well, who asked, “There are millions of people in the United States. Why do we have to choose the one who attacked Joe?”
The pair awkwardly campaigned together, and then Joe Biden began putting Harris in charge of a number of important issues like the border and the space program.
Unfortunately, Harris has flubbed just about every assignment she has been given.
Her main usefulness to Biden has been a perception that despite his cognitive decline, it would be better for him to remain in office than for her to take over.