Vice President Kamala Harris is reportedly expressing discontent with the news coverage surrounding her performance as the nation's second-highest office holder, citing her race and gender.
According to a piece by The New York Times, Harris has been privately complaining to her allies that the media's coverage of her would be better if she were any of her 48 White male predecessors, and has reportedly confided in them about the difficulties she's facing with her assigned portfolio from the White House.
The Times' piece, which focused on Harris' struggle to "define herself" within the Biden White House, noted that she held no "headlining role" when it came to some of the administration's most difficult decisions and that she was caught between criticism that she wasn't performing the job well and resentment from supporters that she was being "undercut" by the West Wing.
The Times noted Harris' historically low approval rating and that a number of high profile staff members opted to depart their jobs less than a year into Harris' term. It also reported she was reaching out to prominent figures like Hillary Clinton to help determine her future direction.
"Ms. Harris has privately told her allies that the news coverage of her would be different if she were any of her 48 predecessors, all of whom were white and male," it added. "She also has confided in them about the difficulties she is facing with the intractable issues in her portfolio, such as voting rights and the root causes of migration."
The Times reported that the White House was pushing back on criticism of Harris and quoted Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who claimed Harris' assigned tasks were "incredibly demanding" and suggested she wasn't actually taking credit for her accomplishments.
Some have suggested Harris and Buttigieg are rivals gearing up for a face-off in the 2024 presidential election should Biden decide not ro run. Biden, who turned 79 last month and is the oldest president in history, told ABC News on Wednesday that he would seek re-election if he was healthy.
The Times also expanded on the counsel Clinton gave Harris about being in her position as a woman in politics.
"There is a double standard; it’s sadly alive and well," Clinton said. "A lot of what is being used to judge her, just like it was to judge me, or the women who ran in 2020, or everybody else, is really colored by that."
Clinton has complained on a number of occasions that sexism and misogyny were the reasons she lost the 2016 presidential election to former President Trump.
The Times added that the two speak over the phone every few months and Clinton has visited Harris in her office.
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., also defended Harris to The Times, claiming there was a double standard that went further than Harris' gender.
"I know, and we all knew, that she would have a difficult time because anytime you’re a ‘first,’ you do,’" Bass said. "And to be the first woman vice president, to be the first Black, Asian woman, that’s a triple. So we knew it was going to be rough, but it has been relentless, and I think extremely unfair."
Bass added that she thought Harris was already the front-runner to be the next Democratic presidential nominee, despite it not being immediately clear if Biden planned to run for reelection in 2024.