The White House has gone to great lengths to portray President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as being close with each other and virtually equal partners in everything but their titles in the “Biden-Harris administration,” but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
One example is the once-highly touted lunches together for the pair that were supposed to occur weekly but instead have only happened twice so far this year, Fox News reported.
The White House has, of course, downplayed the significance of that factoid and put forward excuses for why the weekly lunches haven’t transpired as promised while continuing to insist that all is well concerning the relationship between Biden and Harris.
Only two “weekly lunches” so far this year
The weekly lunches had been promised and promoted at the start of Biden’s tenure in office when the newly-inaugurated president told People magazine that he had put in place the same deal that had existed during his time as vice president to former President Barack Obama.
That deal was said to include an open invitation for Harris to “drop in” on the Oval Office at any time, to be the “last person in the room” during any Cabinet-level or executive meetings, and to hold a weekly lunch meeting together.
According to RealClearPolitics, however, that isn’t what has occurred, at least not thus far in the second year of the Biden-Harris administration, as the weekly lunches seem to have fallen by the wayside.
That determination came following a review of President Biden’s public schedule, which revealed that the president and vice president have joined each other for lunch only twice so far this year, the first on February 8 and then again on March 30.
By way of comparison, RCP noted that the pair had already lunched together at least 12 times by the same point in the 2021 calendar year.
Possible reasons for lack of consistent meetings
RCP reported that, according to White House spokespeople, the fact that Biden and Harris have not been meeting weekly for lunch is not indicative of anything other than scheduling conflicts due to domestic and foreign travel as well as the reality of COVID-19’s continued presence.
Indeed, Harris is currently in isolation after testing positive for the virus — interestingly enough, Biden was not listed as a “close contact” — and the vice president has had to isolate herself away from the president at least twice previously when her husband tested positive in March and an aide tested positive earlier in April.
All of that said, though, Fox News pointed to the persistent rumors of a growing distance and strained relationship between Biden and Harris due in large part to the VP’s apparent failures in achieving results on the issues assigned to her as well as the reports of her office and staff being a “toxic work environment.”
In all likelihood, the reality is probably somewhere in between, and COVID and scheduling conflicts can be partially blamed even as Biden’s purported desire to ensure the lunches continue is probably not as great as it once may have been.