White House insists 'no daylight' between Biden and Harris following report on differences in response to Israel-Hamas conflict

December 15, 2023
by
Ben Marquis

An anonymously-sourced report on Thursday asserted there is some measure of disagreement between Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden on how the administration should publicly address the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, with her allegedly urging him to be "tougher" on the Israelis and more "sympathetic" toward the Palestinians in Gaza.

That report was dismissed later the same day by White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who insistently pushed back against the idea there was "some sort of daylight between" Harris and Biden on the issue, according to Fox News.

The reference to a purported lack of "daylight" between the president and VP was unmistakeably the decided-upon talking point of the White House, as some variation of that particular phrase was uttered by multiple senior officials in response to the leak-based report.

Kirby rejects notion there is "daylight" between Biden and Harris on Israel

During Thursday's White House press briefing, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked the NSC spokesman, "John, why would somebody around here leak that the Vice President is upset with the President about Gaza?"

Kirby initially attempted to laugh off the blunt question but then said, "You’ve seen us, officially and on the record -- not in a leak -- refute the basic premise of the story that there’s some sort of daylight between the Vice President and the President."

"I found the headline of the story interesting, that -- that the Vice President is pushing the White House to -- you fill in the blank: X, Y, Z. Last I looked, the Vice President is part of the White House. She’s part of the team," he continued. "And if she wasn’t offering her advice and counsel to the President on innumerable issues, that would be a story. Her job is to provide advice and counsel to the President."

Kirby insists leadership is aligned on policies

The Fox News reporter pressed the matter and asked about VP Harris, "So, she does want President Biden to show more concern publicly for humanitarian damage, then, in Gaza?"

Kirby reiterated the "no daylight" talking point once more and said, "I would say that the entire leadership team here in the administration, Peter, wants to see no civilian casualties; wants to see the Israelis be more surgical, more precise; wants to see that humanitarian aid is increased into Gaza."

The NSC spokesman would go on to praise Harris for being viewed by Biden as a "real teammate" and "significant leader" in the realm of "foreign policy" who is valued for being "candid, forthright, educated, smart, and willing to tell him exactly what she thinks."

"No daylight" talking point in response to critical report

The referenced report came Thursday from Politico, which cited three unnamed sources as saying that VP Harris had been urging President Biden to publicly display more "concern" and "sensitivity" for the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, as well as to be "tougher" on Israeli leaders, to make "day after" plans for whenever the fighting ends, and to be "more forceful at seeking a long-term peace and two-state solution."

The report suggested there was some distance between Harris, who has seemingly aligned herself with the more anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian progressive wing of the Democratic Party's voter base in comparison to Biden, who up until fairly recently had been relatively strong in his rhetorical support for Israel as it battles the murderous Hamas terror group in Gaza in response to that group's Oct. 7 atrocities in southern Israel.

Yet, the press secretary for Harris, Kirsten Allen, told the outlet that "there is no daylight between the president and the vice president, nor has there been," and insisted that both Harris and Biden were aligned on the top issues. She also warned, "I would caution the media about citing anonymous sources in the 'orbit' about sensitive national security conversations between the president and vice president that take place in the Oval Office."

The same "no daylight" talking point was also uttered by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in response to questions about recent remarks from Harris that were exceptionally tough on Israel in comparison to Biden's more accommodating rhetoric about the Jewish nation's self-defense, and according to Politico, insisted that "There’s no daylight on that."

Finally, albeit without using the particular keyword, an unnamed senior administration official told the outlet, "From day 1, the President, the Vice President, and their advisers have been aligned and adamant that humanitarian aid must be provided, civilians must be protected, and we must remain committed to a Palestinian state," and was adamant that "the President and Vice President have been consistent in public and private about these policy priorities."

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