Is it possible that Vice President Kamala Harris, who came nowhere close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination last year and who is now experiencing some of the lowest approval ratings, historically, for a veep, has become such a liability to the Biden administration that the White House is actually entertaining ways to replace her?
Yes, if a source who tipped off Chad Pergram, Fox News’ White House correspondent, is accurate.
During a segment earlier this week on “Fox News Primetime,” Pergram explained to anchor Jesse Watters that the VP’s tanking poll numbers, repeated policy gaffes, and infighting with the West Wing staff have all led to speculation that she could — and should — be replaced ahead of the 2024 election, which some political observers have already speculated that President Joe Biden will sit out due in no small part to his age.
Were that to happen — if the administration were to somehow find a way to force Harris’ resignation, since she can’t simply be dismissed because she was elected alongside Biden — it would touch off a dicey constitutional successor process that would get ugly quickly thanks to hyper-partisanship in Congress and extremely narrow Democratic majorities.
WOAH: There's talk on Capitol Hill about the mechanics of a confirmation hearing to fill a VP vacancy amid Kamala's nose-diving approval numbers and reports of a strained relationship between Biden and Harris pic.twitter.com/9W0AUakmiw
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 17, 2021
“It’s no secret [Harris] has been running out of favor with the Biden team,” Watters said as he opened the segment and teased Pergram’s report. “Over the weekend someone at the White House leaked several stories criticizing Kamala for her constant gaffes and awkward laugh.
“The vice president’s office responded to those leaks by leaking a story of its own calling the Biden administration ‘racist,'” Watters added before bringing in Pergram.
“There’s a lot of conjecture right now over the future of Vice President Harris and her lagging poll numbers,” said Pergram before playing a clip of a White House ceremony in which Biden was preparing to sign the infrastructure bill and an announcer introduced someone in attendance who was set to speak while Harris was still at the podium.
Pergram went on to say that he got a tip that he should “start to familiarize” himself “with the confirmation process not just in the Senate, but in the House, for a vice president.”
That process is somewhat complicated and has seldom been used throughout the course of U.S. history.
“Such a process exists, but there are huge logistical hurdles to overcome in executing it under the current political conditions,” the Washington Examiner noted.
“Biden cannot fire Harris, who is an elected constitutional officeholder in her own right rather than an appointee who serves at the pleasure of the president. She would have to resign and has little incentive to do so,” the outlet continued, explaining how the process would work:
A vice presidential vacancy would immediately bump both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the president pro tempore of the Senate, currently retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, up in the line of presidential succession. Both officeholders, no matter which party controlled the Senate, would be older than Biden, the oldest person to be president.
The Senate is split 50-50. During any period where the office of vice president was vacant, the Democrats would be without Harris’s tiebreaking vote, which they are counting on to pass their sprawling spending bill next month and which is needed to even control the Senate.
“Spiro Agnew was replaced as vice president in this fashion after his 1973 resignation. But that was prompted by a criminal investigation for which he was subsequently prosecuted. No one is alleging any crimes against Harris,” the news outlet continued.
The problem of replacing Harris would be complicated by the fact that competing Democratic factions — the hard-left progressives versus the more moderate wing of the party — would have to settle for the same person, which does not seem possible, the Examiner noted further.
Still, politically, the White House appears to be in a bind.
“This is ultimately why Harris’s poor polling and early missteps are seen as an emergency by some Democrats: Many in the party do not think Biden will run again in 2024, making this solution unavailable to him,” the Examiner noted.
“Harris would then likely become the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and some in the party no longer view her as a clear upgrade. The fear is that Harris, who briefly served as acting president on Friday as Biden underwent a colonoscopy, doesn’t have time to recover.”
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