TIPP Insights: Kamala Harris – the lackluster VP

(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

By tippinsights Editorial Board, TIPP Insights

The name, Kamala, is of Indian origin and means lotus. The aquatic plant that bears the beautiful flower grows in muddy waters. We hoped Vice President Kamala Harris would bloom out of the Washington swamp like a lotus. But to our disappointment, she is proving otherwise.

In March 2021, President Biden put Vice President Harris in charge of immigration.

Can a doctor perform surgery without going to the OR, or a reporter pen a story without attending the press briefing? VP Harris did just that by refusing to go to the border.

By the time she finally visited the border in late June, it had become a big event in itself.

Her handling of the immigration issue did not inspire confidence. She failed President Biden and the country.

The two Is, inflation and immigration, will decide the midterm elections in November. Had Harris handled the issue better, her party would be in a better position for the midterm.

Only 30% of Americans give President Biden a good grade for handling immigration and border security. This number drops to 15% among Independents.

The number of migrants crossing the southern border increased significantly under her watch. The smuggling of Fentanyl and other opioids, sex trafficking, and avoidable deaths increased. The pandemic has made the situation even worse.

President Biden - Handling Immigration

Lack of Leadership

Washington Post’s interviews with past staffers revealed that Harris would not read the briefing materials produced by her staffers and then chastise them when she sounded unprepared. Her ex-staffers have complained of the toxic working environment under her leadership. The Post quoted a former staffer: “With Kamala, you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”

Tina Flournoy, Kamala Harris’s Chief of Staff, announced her departure last week. She is the twelfth senior staffer to call it quits. Flournoy had served as post-presidential chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton.

Axios sources said that burnout, better opportunities, and a fear of being permanently labeled a “Harris person” are driving some of the departures from Vice President Kamala Harris’s office.

Here’s a chart that shows the senior staff who have left VP Harris:

Kamala Harris - Staff Exodus

Vice President Harris’s inopportune cackle also has not helped matters. Her giggling, especially when posed with difficult questions about the tragedy in Afghanistan and at a press conference about Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, has led to her being labeled ‘insensitive.’ Such behavior was an embarrassment for the U.S. on the international stage.

Confidence In Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris is the Number Two in command. If President Biden leaves office before his term is up, is she prepared for the job?

This month the I&I/TIPP Poll asked Americans: How confident are you that Vice President Kamala Harris would be an effective commander-in-chief against an adversary posing a military threat to the United States if she were to become President?

Only 45% said they would be confident; another 45% said they would not be confident. The breakdown:

  • 24.8% Very confident,
  • 20.5% Somewhat confident,
  • 15.2% Not very confident,
  • 29.9% Not at all confident, and
  • 9.5% Not sure.
Confidence in VP Harris if she were to become President

80% of Democrats trust Harris, compared to 14% of Republicans and 32% of independents.

The job of the leader of the free world is demanding and poses constant challenges. Harris is uniquely positioned to step up to the plate and take some of the burdens off President Biden’s shoulders. So far, she has not inspired confidence in Americans. Will she change for the better? Only time will tell.



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