Largely out of sight in Washington, Kamala Harris preps for White Home

By: New York Times | Washington |

Up to date: November 16, 2020 7:40:23 am

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivers remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, Nov. 10, 2020. (Amr Alfiky/The New York Occasions)

At an elegant cafe within the West Finish neighborhood of Washington, a younger waiter knew that the incoming vice chairman lived “upstairs,” as he famous by gesturing to an upscale condominium constructing overhead, however mentioned he had not really seen her recently.

“The Secret Service generally stops me from taking out the trash, although,” he added, saying that brokers closed off the constructing’s alley when their protectee got here and went from its storage.

Across the nook, two black Suburbans with federal license plates have been parked by the constructing’s entrance — the one seen clue to the close by presence of the California senator and vice president-elect, Kamala Harris.

Within the days since he prevailed within the election, President-elect Joe Biden has made a number of public remarks and launched summaries of his calls with international leaders as reporters observe his each public motion. However Harris has barely appeared on the general public radar since her acceptance speech final Saturday in Wilmington, Delaware, the place she declared “a brand new day for America.”

She shared a stage once more with Biden in Wilmington two days later, after a coronavirus briefing that they had attended collectively. Harris stood silently a number of ft away whereas Biden spoke, with out giving remarks of her personal.

It isn’t unprecedented for a vice president-elect to maintain a low profile in an election’s aftermath. “You recognize, you’ve been pretty invisible for the reason that election,” ABC Information host George Stephanopoulos instructed Biden in an interview greater than a month after his personal election as Barack Obama’s vice chairman.

Biden replied by insisting he had “been within the room” for each certainly one of Obama’s essential transition conferences. Due to social distancing restrictions associated to the coronavirus, Harris has no such luxurious, no less than not within the bodily sense.

After spending election week in Delaware, she has returned to the two-bedroom Washington condominium she purchased after she was elected to the Senate in 2016. From there, she is in common contact with Biden, by textual content message or phone, based on aides with the Biden-Harris transition workforce, and with different transition officers. Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, additionally has an in depth relationship with the incoming first girl, Jill Biden; the 2 campaigned collectively within the race’s last weeks.

One focus of her time is the quantum leap Harris is quickly to make from the legislative to the manager department. Whereas Biden can have nearly no studying curve upon returning to the White Home after eight years as vice chairman, Harris has spent little, if any, substantive time at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (A transition official couldn’t instantly say when she had final visited there.)

That course of is made no simpler by President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the election outcomes and authorize an official transition course of wherein Harris and her aides would have entry to White Home officers and paperwork. Harris has not been contacted by her departing counterpart, Vice President Mike Pence. Days after the 2016 election, Biden hosted Pence for practically two hours on the official vice presidential compound on the U.S. Naval Observatory. “I instructed Mike, the vice president-elect, that I’m accessible to him 24/7,” Biden instructed reporters.

Biden-Harris transition officers declined to remark.

For now, Harris stays a senator. It’s unclear when she may relinquish her seat. Obama stepped down from his Senate seat days after his 2008 election, however Biden, ever the sentimentalist, held on to his till shortly earlier than he was sworn in as vice chairman the next January, telling pals he wished to take one final oath of workplace for the seat he had held for many years. (Biden additionally mentioned he wished to retain his vote in case it is likely to be wanted in a lame-duck Senate session.)

Like Biden, Harris additionally has her personal employees to construct — one other job doubtlessly made tougher by her relative lack of Washington expertise. Whereas Biden, after practically 50 years within the capital, has a community of a whole bunch of former Senate and White Home aides, Harris has a smaller circle, although she is predicted to rent a number of acquainted faces from her Senate workplace and her 2020 marketing campaign.

On social media, Harris has stayed rigorously on message, posting on Twitter a number of instances in regards to the coronavirus and her willpower to work with Biden to include it. “In just some months, we’ll swear in a brand new president who’s dedicated to getting the pandemic underneath management: @JoeBiden,” she tweeted Saturday morning.

Later within the day, Harris, who will develop into the primary occupant of the White Home who’s of Indian heritage, additionally tweeted greetings for the start of Diwali, the Hindu pageant of lights.

Harris has ventured out within the Washington space no less than as soon as for the reason that election. On a wet Veterans Day, sporting bluejeans and a black raincoat, she and Emhoff dropped by Georgetown’s Canine Tag Bakery, which was based to assist assist veterans.

She has in any other case been out of sight at her condominium constructing, about 1 mile from the White Home, and twice that distance from the Naval Observatory advanced she is going to quickly name house. “No good thing created all of a sudden,” reads an inscription on the facet of the constructing, a quote from the Greek Stoic thinker Epictetus.

Mimicking a tragic face, the server on the Bluestone Lane cafe on the constructing’s floor flooring mentioned he hoped she would go to once more quickly.

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