Vice President Kamala Harris claimed she is “ready to serve’’ and touted her “capacity to lead” when asked last week about boss President Biden’s advanced age and voters’ concerns over it.
“I am ready to serve — there’s no question about that,” Harris told the Wall Street Journal.
She insisted that everyone who observes her performance in office “walks away fully aware of my capacity to lead.”
Harris spoke during an interview aboard Air Force Two — two days before special counsel Robert Hur’s scathing report touching on 81-year-old Biden’s condition dropped.
The report determined that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials,” but Hur opted not to press charges, citing precedent, Biden’s cooperation — and added, controversially, that a jury would likely see him as a “well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.”
Hur documented several instances of Biden’s forgetfulness during a five-hour interview with the president in October. Biden’s allies, including his personal lawyer Bob Bauer, who sat in on the Hur interview, have strenuously disputed the special counsel’s characterizations of their exchange.
But then during a presser to rebut Hur’s characterizations Thursday, Biden mixed up the presidents of Egypt and Mexico.
Biden is already the oldest sitting US president in the nation’s history and would finish off a second hypothetical term at 86.
Veep Kamala Harris says she is “ready to serve” if something happens to her 81-year-old boss, President Biden. REUTERS
A smattering of Republican critics have sought to paint Harris as the person who would end up finishing out Biden’s term if he is re-elected.
“We will have a female president of the United States,” Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley told supporters earlier this month. “The hard truth is it’s going to be me or Kamala Harris.”
Her insinuation was that former President Donald Trump can’t win the general election and that President Biden wouldn’t be able to serve out a full second term, leaving Harris.
Harris has laughed off the scenario.
In September, she told The Associated Press, “Biden is going to be fine, so that is not going to come to fruition.
“Every vice president understands that when they take the oath, that they must be very clear about the responsibility they may have to take over the job of being president. I am no different,” she said.
Harris has repeatedly defended Biden over questions about his age and mental acuity in the past.
Harris hasn’t given public interviews very often but appears to be doing more ahead of November’s general election. Getty Images
Biden and Harris have both been warning about the stakes of the November election. AP
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Biden, be it in the Oval Office, in the Situation Room, and other places — he is extraordinarily smart,” Harris told an ABC reporter last month. “He has the ability to see around the corner in terms of what might be the challenges we face as a nation or globally.”
Throughout their time in the White House, Biden has delegated a number of high-profile responsibilities to Harris, such as tapping her to helm the US response to the border crisis. Critics say the country has failed miserably on the migrant issue.
Harris, the first female vice president in US history, also has lately taken up a pronounced role in defending abortion rights. She has mounted a tour of the country championing that issue.
“I do believe that the majority of people have an empathy gene,” Harris told the Journal.
Harris has led the Biden administration’s and campaign’s messaging on abortion. Getty Images
“And the more they realize what has actually been happening since the Dobbs decision came down, the more open they are to consider the fundamental point, which is: Should the government be telling a woman what to do?” she said of the US Supreme Court decision in June 2022 opening the door for states to knock down abortion rights.
Harris has sought to pin the blame on Trump for appointing three conservative justices to the Supreme Court who tipped the balance of power on the bench.
The vice president has a net -19.2-point favorability rating, while Biden has a net -15.3-point favorability rating, according to the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate of polling.
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