News and Commentary

‘President’ Kamala Harris Heads To Europe Again As Biden Hunkers Down In White House
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 19: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris hold a press conference after a virtual meeting with the National Governors Association's executive committee at the Queen Theater on November 19, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Mr. Biden and his advisors continue the process of transitioning to the White House. (Photo by
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday headed to Texas to discuss the environmental impact of … burn pits.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday took off for Europe, where she will meet with top foreign leaders to seek a solution to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Harris is slated to meet on Thursday with Polish President Andrzej Sebastian Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as well as with Ukrainians who have fled to Poland. She’ll also meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while in Warsaw. Trudeau has been in Europe this week meeting with Ukraine allies,” the Associated Press reported.

“Harris will travel on Friday to Bucharest, where she’s to meet Romanian President Klaus Iohannis,” the wire service said.

The U.S. move is unusual, to say the least. Vice presidents usually meet with vice presidents, foreign ministers with foreign ministers (or, in the case of the U.S., the Secretary of State) — but presidents meet with presidents, so it was a decidedly odd decision for Biden to send his underling to such an important meeting with the largest conflict in Europe since World War II was raging.

So what’s Biden doing? He’ll hang out at the White House, meet with business leaders about inflation and the likely doomed Bipartisan Innovation Act, then head to a historically black university in Washington, D.C. to deliver a speech to the Democratic Senators Issues Conference.

Those duties certainly seem more appropriate for a vice president, especially given that there’s a war in eastern Europe.

It’s not the first time Biden has handed off his presidential duties to his subordinate.

In mid-February, as Russian President Vladimir Putin was moving troops into place for an invasion, Biden dispatched Harris to Europe. Meanwhile, Biden’s full schedule for the day Harris left, provided by the White House, was this:

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

As Harris was still flying to Germany to deliver a message from the U.S. in, Biden headed to Lorain, Ohio, to talk about his infrastructure plan.

In Europe, Harris met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as well as other Baltic leaders, a job usually filled by the U.S. president.

The move was so unusual even the mainstream media took notice.

“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 last month. “So is there a concern that this trip could distract the president from thinking about Ukraine and Russia?”

Jean-Pierre replied, “Every president, whether it’s a Democratic president or a Republican, has dealt with multiple crises as 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.”

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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