Vice President Kamala Harris blasted press coverage of a personal shopping trip she took during an official visit to France last month as “ridiculous” but avoided questions about recent high-profile staff departures from her office, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.
At the end of her trip to Paris last month, Harris stopped in a high-end cookware store to purchase, among other things, a $375 cooking pot. The move resulted in some critical press coverage, with reports juxtaposing her spending with Americans struggling to afford everyday goods because of unusually high inflation rates.
“Harris called the headlines ‘ridiculous,'” the Chronicle reported.
“Oh, how about, ‘She’s going to buy a pot on her way to the airport,'” Harris told the newspaper, “after a very significant and highly successful bilateral meeting in France on issues that are about national security, on issues that are about climate, on issues that are about what we are doing in terms of international norms and rules on everything from cyber to space. Come on.”
But the vice president ignored questions on staffing problems in her office and recent high-profile departures, according to the newspaper. CNN previously reported the departures of top communication aides Symone Sanders and Ashley Etienne, following a myriad of reports, including from CNN, of staff infighting and dysfunction.
And Harris’ team will likely see other exits over time. Last month, CNN reported that several people on her staff had started to reach out to contacts to say they’re looking to leave, according to sources who’ve gotten calls, while many in the vice president’s orbit have expressed frustration that Harris has not being adequately prepared or positioned by the White House and instead is being sidelined.
“Harris twice did not directly answer a question about lessons she had learned and whether she wished she’d done anything differently over the past year. But she said her goals for next year include more travel around the country to sell the administration’s priorities,” the Chronicle said.
“There is nothing about this job that is supposed to be easy,” Harris, whose portfolio of issues includes immigration, told the newspaper. “If something is coming to me, it’s because it needs to be addressed and because, by definition, it’s not going to be easy. If it was easy, it would have been handled before it comes to me.”
And she called President Joe Biden and herself “governing partners.”
“He can’t do everything, and so on an issue like the root causes of migration, he looks to me because he trusts me, and he understands the position and the work that can be done by the vice president,” she said. “And he asked me to take certain things on because he can’t do everything, and I’ll willingly do it.”
Noting that Biden also once served as vice president, Harris told the Chronicle, “He really appreciates and understands the role, and he’s extremely supportive.”
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