FACT CHECK: New York Times Columnist Says Kamala Harris ‘Has Clear Potential as a National Leader’
CLAIM: Christina Greer, a political scientist at Fordham University and political editor at TheGrio, made the following assertion about Vice President Kamala Harris in a guest essay published by the New York Times:
“She was far from a diversity hire for Mr. Biden, and she has clear potential as a national leader, but she needs the time, support, and right combination of goals to learn and grow.”
FACT CHECK: First of all, Greer’s claim that Harris was “far from a diversity hire” for President Joe Biden is not supported by the facts.
Months before he secured the Democratic nomination for president, Biden vowed that his choice of running mate would not be based on merit alone. “I commit that I will in fact pick a woman to be vice president,” he said during a one-on-one debate against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
By preemptively eliminating male candidates, including trans men and other non-binary individuals, Biden ensured that diversity would be a significant factor in his hiring decision. He was eventually pressured to exclude white women from his list of possible VP candidates, further narrowing the field from which Harris was ultimately chosen.
Greer’s claim that Harris “has clear potential as a national leader” is even more out of touch with reality. It appears in the context of the author’s broader argument that Harris should be given easier tasks “that show her ideas and creativity” in order to boost her chances of winning the Democratic nomination and being elected president in 2024—assuming Biden doesn’t run again.
It’s certainly true that Harris has “clear potential” to become a “national leader.” Biden’s bumbling incoherence on the world stage suggests the 78-year-old president’s physical and mental health are rapidly deteriorating. Harrison Ford’s recent injury, suffered on the set of Indiana Jones 5, does not bode well for Biden’s political future.
That said, to imply that Harris could ever become president by winning a national election is to stretch the truth beyond all recognition. Her presidential primary campaign, for example, was what most political experts would describe as a massive failure.
Despite claiming to be a “top tier” candidate, Harris never polled within 10 percentage points of Biden and was only in contention for a brief period in July 2019, when most polls were based on a small sample size of registered voters. Due to her inadequacy as a politician, and her inability to take a coherent position on any given issue, Harris rapidly descended into irrelevancy before ending her campaign in December 2019, before any Democrats even had the chance to not vote for her.
The Washington Free Beacon correctly predicted (in December 2014) that Hillary Clinton would never be president. Based on the available evidence, we are perfectly comfortable making the same prediction with respect to Harris, with one important caveat: She will never become president by winning an election. Biden’s advanced age and declining health, of course, makes it impossible to rule out the possibility altogether.
VERDICT: Mostly false.