In one of the early Democrat debates in 2019, the crowded field of Democrats vying for the nomination for President piled on Joe Biden, attacking him for his participation in the anti-immigration Obama administration, and even levying accusations of racism. Specifically, Kamala Harris criticized Biden’s decades-old vote to prevent the busing of children into white school districts in a bid to make the United States more multicultural. Soon after, Jill Biden suggested Harris “go f**k yourself” during a phone call with close supporters of Biden’s campaign.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me,” Harris said during the debate, claiming that Biden’s views personally offended her. Harris would later laugh off being offended by Biden’s allegedly racist history during an interview with Stephen Colbert, when she cackled, “it was a debate!”
However, at the time, the remark caused a serious rift between the two Democrats. Despite Harris never polling higher than 2% throughout the primary, the attack on Joe Biden’s character apparently severely upset the future First Lady. According to Politico, Jill Biden held a phone call with close supporters the next week, when she said, “With what he cares about, what he fights for, what he’s committed to, you get up there and call him a racist without basis?” Jill Biden continued, “Go f— yourself.”
Harris’s attack on Biden’s alleged history as a racist did little to boost her campaign or, apparently, hurt his. Harris aborted her run for the White House in December of 2019, only a few months after the debate, and only a few months before Biden would tap her as his running mate. It remains unclear if their relationship was soured by the accusation of racism.
This is not the only moment that could have potentially caused a rift between the nearly 80-year-old President and his much younger counterpart. Harris also stated publicly that she believed the women accusing Joe Biden of sexual assault in 2019, only to later become completely silent on the subject.
Regardless of their past drama, there is evidence that Biden is completely comfortable with his vice president taking on an increasingly large role within the administration. Early in the administration, it was revealed that Harris was taking the responsibility of phone calls with foreign leaders, something usually reserved for the President. More jarring, Biden has referred to Harris as the President of the United States on more than one occasion.
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