President Joe Biden is the commander in chief, but there are concerns about his mental acuity. It’s not surprising, then, that Vice President Kamala Harris is stepping up in her role.
Harris increasingly has been standing in for Biden, calling foreign dignitaries and touring the country to push the coronavirus vaccines, The Washington Times reported. Without her own specific agenda, many are speculating that she is a surrogate for the 78-year-old president.
The vice president has been sitting in on White House intelligence briefings. Biden has said he wants Harris to “participate in everything that I did” as well as “be the last person in the room.” Perhaps he’s hoping she will simply follow his lead when he was in the role of vice president, but it seems like she’s going further.
During the Obama administration, Biden was instrumental in helping push former President Barack Obama’s bloated financial stimulus and military standdown in Iraq. Biden acted as a mediator between Congress and the White House when he served as vice president, but Harris’ role seems to be more involved.
Harris has shadowed Biden in Oval Office meetings. She also accompanied him when signing the American Rescue Plan into law, and lead him out of the room before he could answer a single question from the media.
Harris has the gravitas of being a self-described Black woman, and the administration is using that to their advantage. “The president and I from the beginning of this have made it one of our highest priorities to make sure that we are taking into account racial disparities and that we supply folks on the ground with the resources you need so that we have equitable outcomes,” Harris said about distributing the COVID-19 vaccine.
She reportedly also has an interest in national security and was “heavily engaged” in helping Biden decide to bomb Iranian-backed militias in Syria last month. While the left ponders whether she’ll make her own mark as vice president using these experiences, many understand that she has her sights set on 2024 when the 56-year-old could run if Biden does not seek re-election.
While Harris is behaving like a typical vice president in some ways, there seems to be an understanding that she’s being groomed for a much larger role. With Biden never off-script when he is in public, there are serious questions as to whether he can handle the job. Harris seems to be waiting in the wings for her chance.