Kamala Harris Touts Accomplishments in Biden White House After Sources Whisper of 'Rocky Relationship'

"I am very, very excited about the work that we have accomplished," the vice president told Good Morning America in the wake of a lengthy new report by CNN

Biden Harris Juneteenth
From left: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty

Vice President Kamala Harris was pressed in a Thursday interview about claims she feels underutilized in the Biden administration — a whisper campaign she laughed off.

"I am very, very excited about the work that we have accomplished," she told Good Morning America. "But I am also absolutely, absolutely clear-eyed that there is a lot more to do and we're going to get it done."

The vice president's GMA interview comes in the wake of a lengthy, anonymously sourced CNN report about alleged dysfunction between her team and the West Wing.

CNN cited sources who spoke of a "rocky relationship with some parts of the White House" and Harris feeling "constrained in what she's able to do politically" — though as the network noted, many vice presidents, by dent of their No. 2 positions, have been subject to chatter they don't do enough or don't fit in with the presidents' teams.

One of the few named sources in the CNN story, Harris friend and California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, said it was "natural that those of us who know her know how much more helpful she can be than she is currently being asked to be. That's where the frustration is coming from."

But on GMA the vice president played down speculation of strife.

"This was a good week," Harris, 57, told George Stephanopoulos, pointing back to the recent signing of a major infrastructure investment bill that was a signature priority for the White House.

"We're getting things done and we're doing it together," she said of her and President Joe Biden.

The infrastructure legislation's bipartisan passage — after months of sometimes fraught negotiation — "makes a statement about all of the hard work that has gone into it, month after month after month," Harris said.

"I've traveled around the country, as has the president," she said. "We have convened members of Congress, we have convened people around our nation, asking, 'What do you want?' And this is a response to what they want."

One thing Harris declined to discuss in her GMA interview, however, was the future. Asked if she and Biden had talked about him running for re-election when he would be 82 years old — as he has already said he plans to do — she pivoted to their regular briefings on national security and other meetings focusing on the issues of today.

Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris. EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty

Asked specifically if she and the president had talked about 2024, Harris said, "Absolutely not."

More broadly, the administration has been contending with sharply declining poll numbers for both Biden and Harris amid a series of challenges, from the end of the war in Afghanistan to protracted congressional infighting over how to pass Biden-backed bills.

Aides have long insisted that focusing on the president's domestic policy items, like infrastructure and social spending, will invariably address voters' concerns and rally support again. The infrastructure bill passing was seen as a potential breakthrough, along with continued job growth, even as Republicans rally to the problems around rising prices.

To that end, the White House has recently sharpened its focus on inflation and so-called "supply chain" issues in the economy.

"It's real and it's rough," Harris acknowledged on GMA. "The cost of groceries has gone up, the cost of gas has gone up. And, as this is all happening in the context of two years of a pandemic. Over 700,000 lives lost, much less the loss of livelihoods and a sense of normalcy. So it's a lot. And it's one of the highest priorities actually, for the president and for me."

Harris' spokeswoman Symone Sanders had separately dismissed the CNN reporting as "gossip" when compared to Harris' work on her first European trip as vice president.

"It is unfortunate that after a productive trip to France in which we reaffirmed our relationship with America's oldest ally and demonstrated U.S. leadership on the world stage, and following passage of a historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create jobs and strengthen our communities, some in the media are focused on gossip — not on the results that the President and the Vice President have delivered," Sanders said in a statement.

Joe Biden
From left: Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden. ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

Elsewhere, Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Harris faced scrutiny unlike any other vice president.

"One of the things I really admire about the vice president: She is the first African-American woman, woman of color, Indian-American woman to serve in this job. Woman. I mean, so many firsts, right? It's a lot to have on your shoulders," Psaki told Politico on Wednesday. "She is somebody who, at a much higher level than the rest of us, but who wants to be seen as the talented, experienced expert, substantive policy person, partner to the president, that she is. But I do think there have been some attacks that are beyond because of her identity."

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