First Lady Jill Biden reportedly told a group of close supporters that Kamala Harris should "go f**k herself" after the then-Senator attacked her husband Joe Biden for his record on race during a Democratic primary debate two summers ago. The future first lady fumed to supporters after Harris, who is now the Vice President, slammed Joe Biden's record opposing federally mandated interracial busing to desegregate schools.
The report of Jill Biden's comments comes from an upcoming book on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary by journalist Edward-Isaac Dovere, an excerpt of which was published in Politico. According to the author the first couple and Harris had quite a messy relationship at that time.
Furious at Harris
During the debate Harris slammed Biden's record opposing federally mandated interracial busing to desegregate schools. "That little girl was me!" Harris told Biden in one of the most cutting moments of the Democratic primary.
Although nothing happened immediately, Jill Biden vented out her anger said on a phone call with supporters: "With what he cares about, what he fights for, what he's committed to, you get up there and call him a racist without basis?"
"Go f*** yourself," she had reportedly said. The first lady's spokesperson, Michael Larosa, told Politico of the excerpt: "Many books will be written on the 2020 campaign, with countless retellings of events â some accurate, some inaccurate."
"The First Lady and her team do not plan to comment on any of them," he added.
Not just the first lady, even Joe Biden also got furious at Harris. While still on stage during the debate, Biden allegedly turned to fellow candidate Pete Buttigieg and said of Harris' attack: "That was some f**king bullshit." Buttigieg is currently Biden's transportation secretary.
Attack and Counterattack
Biden was the vice president at that time to Barack Obama, the first black president in American history, from 2009-2017. After becoming the Democratic nominee for president in 2020, he chose Harris as his running mate and she later became the first minority and first woman to hold the position of vice president.
However, things got quite ugly during and after that debate that somewhat strained the relationship between the Bidens and Harris. Harris claimed that Biden did not support desegregation of schools by way of busing in the 1970s.
Harris, a half-Indian half-Jamaican daughter of immigrants, reminded Biden at the time that she is a beneficiary of the busing system. After the tense back-and-forth â one of the most memorable interactions on the 2020 campaign trail â moderators stopped for a commercial break.
Biden and Harris have worked closely together since taking office in January. In fact, Biden has referred to himself as a transitional president and takes pride in promoting Harris as the first black vice president of the nation.
But things weren't the same even two years back. Actually, even at that time the reason behind the Bidens fuming at Harris was racism. At some point during that debate in Miami, Harris had said: "As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak, on the issue of race." She said it was "hurtful" Biden praised two notorious Democratic segregationists who he served with in the Senate in the 1970s.
Harris confronted Biden about the remarks and his stance in the 1970s against encouraging racial integration in schools. During that decade, then-Senator Biden worked with the two segregationists to try to prevent federal imposition of the policy.
In her attack, Harris said, "I do not believe you are a racist. And I agree with you, when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But I also believe â and it's personal, and I was actually very â it was hurtful, to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country."
Harris' office hasn't yet commented on the revelations made in the book. However, despite Jill Biden slamming her, things didn't change much for her husband.
A few weeks after the debate, new polling showed that while Biden didn't lose much steam after that brutal back-and-forth, Harris did get much higher numbers on being "stronger" and more ready to fight.