(New York) Kamala Harris is the target of recurring ridicule within her own party and constant criticism from the opposing camp. But last Friday in New York, one of her admirers compared her to an Old Testament heroine.
“I read in the Bible the story of a lady named Esther. Esther found herself gaining access to the head of state,” Al Sharpton said while introducing the vice president, keynote speaker at the annual convention of the National Action Network, the black pastor’s organization, held at a Times hotel. Square.
According to the Bible book of the same name, Esther used her position with the Persian king Ahasuerus to save the Jewish people from destruction.
“What comforts us is knowing that we have someone sitting next to the head of state who can plead the cause of those of us who haven’t had the opportunity to do so ourselves- same,” Sharpton continued after summarizing the story of the biblical queen. “Like Esther, she was prepared for this. »
From the Bible, the civil rights activist moved on to reality.
“And I say to you today that members of the right can throw all the punches they want. They can invent any argument against the vice president. It is made for this. She was born for this. She was raised for this. She can take any beating they can give because she’s taken worse beatings than these. »
The hundreds of mostly black people in attendance gave Kamala Harris an enthusiastic welcome that is undoubtedly one of the highs of a vice-presidency that has not failed in the lows of the first months of the year.
This reception may also reflect a turning point to which current events have contributed by allowing Joe Biden’s right-hand man to express himself with more freedom and force. In New York, for example, she denounced the positions of Ron DeSantis and other Republican “extremists” on many topics making headlines these days, including abortion, censorship, guns and LGBTQ rights.
These doubts are not new. However, they made a comeback in the media after a statement by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren in late January. In a radio interview, the latter responded directly to the question of whether Joe Biden should seek a second term.
“Yes, he should run again,” she said. But she declined to say the same about Kamala Harris: “I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team. »
After this declaration perceived as a betrayal by her camp, the vice-president refused two phone calls from her former colleague who wanted to apologize to her in private after having done so in public.
However, if she doubted, Elizabeth Warren was not the only one to do so in the Democratic camp. A few days after his radio interview, the New York Times ran a front-page story reporting the disappointment of allies of Kamala Harris at his struggles to define his vice presidency.
“That will be, in my opinion, one of the most powerful arguments against Biden,” John Morgan, a Democratic donor from Florida, told The Times.
A few weeks later, Reuters followed up with an article suggesting that Joe Biden himself may be beginning to lose faith in Kamala Harris. Based on the anonymous testimony of a former White House official, the authors of the report wrote that the president’s decision to run for office again in 2024 was partly due to his belief that no other Democrats, including including the vice president, could not defeat Donald Trump, if the latter were the Republican candidate.
Kamala Harris, it should be noted, is not the first person to occupy the vice-presidency of which one wonders what she does with her days. She is also not the first right-hand man of a president about whom strategists suggest a replacement within the presidential ticket.
Is there an element of sexism or racism in the treatment he receives? Probably. But being a black woman is also an asset for a vice-president within a party whose electoral success depends on the mobilization of blacks and women.
A fact that Kamala Harris has tried to demonstrate over the past few weeks by traveling to Memphis to attend the funeral of Tire Nichols or to Nashville to support the “two Justins”, those young black representatives expelled from their seats in the Tennessee Parliament, or again in several other cities to defend women’s access to abortion or the abortion pill.
Trips that were added to a recent trip to Africa to try to counter the rise of China and Russia on this continent.
Kamala Harris remains largely unpopular, garnering only 39% favorable opinions according to the Real Clear Politics poll average (compared to 42.1%) for Joe Biden.
But she will have been treated like a queen in New York last Friday.