According to Foer, Klain, who had previously worked with Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, struggled to effectively assist Harris. Foer reveals that Harris imposed numerous constraints on herself, including a preference to not work on women's issues or anything related to race. She also insisted on having a majority female office and a Black woman as her chief of staff. To Klain, these self-imposed rules made it difficult for Harris to find her footing and hindered her progress.
Foer's book also delves into Harris' quest to add more issues to her portfolio. Despite her constant search for meaty assignments, Foer notes that Harris was reluctant to accept suggestions when they were presented to her. He sheds light on Harris asking to be in charge of relations with Scandinavia, away from the spotlight. However, when she finally expressed interest in working on voting rights, Klain initially hesitated, causing a lack of confidence in her abilities.
Foer also examines Harris' relationship with President Biden, comparing it to the dynamic between former President Obama and then-Vice President Biden. While Biden treated Harris with respect, Foer asserts that he didn't provide her with the same substantive role that Obama had given him. Biden, according to Foer, didn't need Harris in the same way that Obama needed Biden to fill gaps in his resume.
The book highlights how Harris' sensitivity to criticism affected her decision-making and interactions within the White House. Foer recounts an incident where Harris froze out an aide whom she believed had cooperated with reporters after reading a negative story about her mismanagement of her team. This heightened sensitivity, as described by Foer, led to frustration among her colleagues in the West Wing.
The excerpt from Foer's book also includes statistics from a June NBC News poll, indicating that 49 percent of registered voters hold a negative view of Harris, while only 32 percent view her positively. This negative perception further highlights the challenges faced by the vice president.
As of now, neither Harris' office nor the White House have provided any comment regarding the claims made in Foer's book. "The Last Politician" is set to be released on Tuesday by Penguin Random House.
themes: Joe Biden