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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

OPINION:

President Biden often calls his vice president, Kamala Harris, “President Harris.”

“Now, when President Harris and I took a virtual tour of a vaccination center in Arizona not long ago,” Mr. Biden said last summer.


“… all kidding aside, of course, President Harris, who’s a proud Howard alum, she might have something to say about Delaware State,” Mr. Biden said at a university commencement address in December.

And last month, Mr. Biden said, “President Harris and I stood in the United States Capitol to observe one of those before and after moments in American history.”

The mainstream media always dismiss the misattributed honorific, but here’s a thought: What if Ms. Harris really IS president?

During the 2020 campaign for the White House, many critics questioned if Mr. Biden, 79, was up to the task.

While some wondered whether he still had his once-powerful faculties, others pondered whether a man who’s nearly an octogenarian could physically handle the demanding job, which runs 24/7/365 and requires hundreds of thousands of miles of travel, never easy on the body.

Now, we know the answer.

Mr. Biden dispatched Ms. Harris to Europe last week in an attempt to avert Russia’s apparently imminent invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, here is Mr. Biden’s schedule for the same day Ms. Harris departed, provided by the White House:

10:00 AM      THE PRESIDENT receives the President’s Daily Brief
                       Closed Press

Yes, that was his full schedule.

As Ms. Harris flew to Germany to deliver a message from the U.S. to avert what would be the largest conflict in Europe since World War II, Mr. Biden headed to Lorain, Ohio, to talk about his infrastructure plan.

Normally, the vice president gets the scut work, like, say, going to Lorain, Ohio, to talk about the infrastructure law. But for that trip, Mr. Biden was back in the White House by 3:15 p.m., even as Ms. Harris was just halfway to Europe.

In an ironic twist, Ms. Harris — who was named border czar by Mr. Biden and tasked with solving the vexing problem at the U.S.-Mexico border but has not once visited there — was dispatched by the president to solve a border crisis nearly 5,000 miles away from America.

Biden is deploying Kamala Harris to Europe to help ease Russia-Ukraine tensions,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, tweeted last week, adding sarcastically: “Right, because she’s doing so well with our southern border.”

Ms. Harris met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other Baltic leaders, a task usually filled by the U.S. president. For reference, vice presidents usually meet with vice presidents foreign ministers with foreign ministers (or, in the case of the U.S., the secretary of state). Presidents meet with presidents and prime ministers — the leaders of nations — so it was a decidedly odd decision for Mr. Biden to send his underling to such an important conclave.

The regularly cowed U.S. media actually took notice of the oddity.

“A senior State Department official this morning said that this is perhaps the most perilous moment for peace and security since the Cold War,” a reporter asked White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday. “So, is there a concern that this trip could distract the president from thinking about Ukraine and Russia?”

Ms. Jean-Pierre replied, “Every president, whether it’s a Democratic president or a Republican, has dealt with multiple crises at once. And that’s what this president is doing. He was vice president before, he’s been in the Senate. He knows how to deal with multiple crises at the same time. … But this is not going to deter him from what he needs to do for the American public.”

For her part, Ms. Harris — who has been crushed in the polls amid reports that she runs a bullying and dysfunctional veep office — was more than happy for the time in the spotlight.

“It is a priority for President Biden and myself that we are engaged with our allies and partners around the world,” she told foreign leaders.

Well, if it is such a priority, why didn’t Mr. Biden, elected by the American people to run the country, go himself?

And who’s president, anyway?

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl


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