President Joe Biden promised he and Vice President Kamala Harris would have a weekly working lunch at which they could hammer out policy points and "build out an agenda." Biden and Harris have only had two lunches together this year, RealClearPolitics reported Thursday.
As vice president, Biden had weekly lunches with Barack Obama, which he found "so important … that he carried over the tradition to his own presidency." Biden said soon after he took office that he "made the same deal with [Harris] that Barack and I made."
That deal has not worked out as Biden planned. This year saw only two Biden-Harris lunches: on February 8, as Biden was deciding on a Supreme Court nominee, and on March 30, after Biden's gaffe-packed trip to Warsaw in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
While the White House told RealClearPolitics the lunches "are not the ultimate barometer of cooperation" between the president and vice president, other reporting indicates that Biden and Harris have a rocky relationship.
The few lunches Biden and Harris did have "lacked a real depth of personal and political intimacy," Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns wrote in their forthcoming book This Will Not Pass. The book also reported that first lady Jill Biden blasted Harris on the campaign trail, saying, "There are millions of people in the United States. Why do we have to choose the one who attacked Joe?"
Harris, who has received four doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. The White House issued a report saying the vice president "has not been a close contact to the president or first lady."