Biden gives Harris cold shoulder at DC soup kitchen after reported tensions
President Biden seemed to snub Vice President Kamala Harris Tuesday as they helped prepare meals at a DC soup kitchen during their first public appearance together in more than a week.
Biden made no attempt to demonstrate any fondness for his VP in front of the cameras after Harris allies slammed Biden to CNN last week for giving her tough jobs, such as handling the border crisis, and accused the West Wing of giving her less support than white members of the administration.
When asked by a reporter what he was grateful for, Biden put an arm around DC Central Kitchen chef Dawain Arrington — who was standing to the president’s left with Harris at Biden’s right — and said, “The people I’m standing next to are what I’m thankful for. He got up. He was knocked down, but he got up.”
Moments earlier, first lady Jill Biden directed Harris to a spot next to her husband, but the president didn’t appear to greet his second-in-command.
“Come on, Kamala!” Jill Biden said, pointing the vice president to a tray of green beans that the VP was put in charge of scooping.
“I’m here!” Harris responded gleefully as she approached.
Press pool microphones didn’t capture any words between Biden and Harris and the president seemed to ignore the veep and return immediately to his conversation with Arrington as he placed turkey on trays.
At one point, Biden could be heard telling the chef about a time when facilities were “segregated by law.”
Biden, who turned 79 last weekend, and Harris appeared in public Nov. 15 one day after the reported rift broke into the open and made a point of crossing the White House lawn together ahead of Biden signing his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The pre-Thanksgiving charity photo op followed featured Jill Biden scooping what appeared to be a sweet potato casserole. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff ladled gravy.
Biden departed the soup kitchen for an evening flight to Nantucket where he will celebrate Thanksgiving with his family at the compound of billionaire David Rubenstein, according to Nantucket Magazine.
Biden’s holiday trip comes as his poll numbers crater amid the highest inflation in 31 years, the highest rate of illegal immigration since the 1980s, the disorderly US exit from Afghanistan and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
“What message does it send to the middle-class Americans that President Biden says he’s trying to help, who are struggling this week to cover the cost of the most expensive Thanksgiving ever, that the president is going to take two days off at a billionaire’s compound in Nantucket?” Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki earlier Tuesday.
“I hope you’re spending time with your family,” Psaki countered. “I’m spending time with my family. I hope everybody in here is spending time with their families. This is a time to put politics aside, spend time with your loved ones and talk about what you’re grateful for.”
She added: “You are president no matter where you are. He will conduct his work from wherever he is, on any vacation, at any time.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found 53 percent of respondents disapprove of Biden’s performance and just 38 percent approve. An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted Nov. 7-10 found 57 percent disapproval and 38 approval of Biden.