On Monday the White House used the occasion of Presidents Day to reveal that Vice President Kamala Harris has been acting, well, presidential.
The Biden administration posted a summary of Harris’s recent call with French President Emmanuel Macron. According to the summary, Harris reassured Macron of the administration’s “commitment to strengthening bilateral ties between the United States and France and to revitalizing the transatlantic alliance.”
Harris and Macron also concurred on the need for such close bilateral, and multilateral, cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support for democracy at home and around the world, the summary added.
Furthermore, they chatted about regional challenges, such as in the Middle East and Africa, and the need to confront them jointly. The vice president also thanked Macron for his leadership on the issue of gender equality and for France’s contribution to NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.
This was at least the second time Harris has fulfilled this duty during the Biden administration’s first month. On Feb. 1, according to the U.S. embassy in Canada, she spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was the recipient of her first call to a foreign leader.
According to a summary of that conversation, Harris “underscored Canada’s deep importance to the United States as an economic and strategic partner,” and she also expressed “the United States’ desire to work closely with Canada on a wide range of issues, including combating the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing climate change, and expanding our economic partnership in ways that advance the recovery and create jobs in both countries.”
The administration likely needed to offer some reassurance on that front since the call came after President Joe Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline, which is a project of a Canadian company.
Speaking with Trudeau, Harris also reiterated America’s solidarity with Canada on the issue of two Canadian citizens “unjustly detained” by China, and promised the United States would continue to do everything it can to secure their release. She also pledged “to support all efforts to expand bilateral cooperation.”
Now, this may not be that big of an issue.
For one thing, the White House press office notes that Biden himself over the past week has had calls with China’s President Xi Jinping and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. And Biden’s first call to a foreign leader, on his third day in office, was to Trudeau.
Meanwhile, some recent media reports say former Vice President Mike Pence on occasion conducted calls with foreign leaders on behalf of the Trump administration.
Still, Harris’s ruthless ambition is no secret, Biden’s age and mental acuity have raised doubts about his stamina, and before taking office, both she and Biden offered up gaffes that indicated she was the top of the ticket.
During a virtual campaign event in September, for example, Harris referred to the “Harris administration.” The next day, while speaking n Florida, Biden talked about the goals of the “Harris-Biden administration.” Then, in December, after the Electoral College vote secured his win, Biden was promoting the need to take the coronavirus vaccine after he himself got the shot.
“I took it to instill public confidence in the vaccine. President-elect Harris took hers today for the same reason,” Biden said.
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