President Biden rarely takes lunches with Vice President Kamala Harris, despite his earlier promise to make them a weekly event.
Biden has had lunch with Harris just twice in 2022, according to his calendar. Biden vowed just after gaining office to lunch alone with Harris once per week, just as he had as President Barack Obama’s vice president, Real Clear Politics noted.
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“That’s the deal when we’re both in-country,” he said at the time. “Which we’ll be for a while because of COVID, and I see her all the time.”
Biden and Harris’ offices appear to have grown increasingly distant over their first year in office. Harris was initially touted as having a central role in the White House, but mishandled issues and reports of a toxic work environment have marred her image.
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Harris’ apparent estrangement from Biden entered the spotlight this week when she tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, but Biden was not listed among her close contacts.
The White House released a statement saying Harris hadn’t seen the president since April 18, eight days prior.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki argued that the lunches remain a priority for Biden. She told reporters that Biden and Harris had spoken on Wednesday over the phone.
“Obviously, they’re not going to be dining in person while she is quarantining at home, but they did speak yesterday,” she told reporters Wednesday. “I expect they will speak regularly while she is quarantining.”