Vogue cover made VP Kamala Harris feel ‘belittled,’ book says

"This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future" looks at White House team tensions, including Harris' alleged reaction to her Vogue cover

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A new book by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns examines tensions between President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their respective teams, issues that began, they report, even before Inauguration Day, according to Politico.

This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future alleges that one area of contention was Harris’ Vogue cover, released in January 2021.

The cover featured the smiling vice president standing, wearing a black pantsuit and Converse sneakers, her hands casually folded, in front of a pink and green drape, the colors a tribute to her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Kamala Harris thegrio.com
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a joint press conference with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on the occasion of their meeting at Belwelder Palace, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The book called Vogue‘s February 2021 cover photo “an approachable but less than grand depiction of the incoming vice president,” yet claims “Harris was wounded. She felt belittled by the magazine, asking aides: Would Vogue depict another world leader this way?”

Reportedly, Symone Sanders, who was then the vice president’s press secretary, reached out to Vogue editor Anna Wintour to express Harris’ displeasure.

At the time, the magazine issued a statement, which read, “The team at Vogue loved the images Tyler Mitchell shot and felt the more informal image captured Vice President-elect Harris’s authentic, approachable nature — which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden/Harris administration,” reports Business Insider.

However, Harris wasn’t the only one displeased with the photo. The casual cover shot was deemed by many across social media as unflattering to America’s first African American and South Asian vice president and the first woman to hold the second-highest office in the land.

This Will Not Pass reports that Harris’ chief of staff raised the issue with Biden aides, who reportedly rebuffed her while distracted as the administration entered office amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic free fall. One official reportedly alleged to Politico, “Tina, the adviser said, these are first-world problems.”

Additionally, the book contends that there were ongoing issues between the Biden and Harris camps, including real and perceived slights — such as that many Biden staffers did not stand when she entered the room.

Late last year, CNN also reported on issues within the two camps, noting that Harris had a “frustrating” start to her position as vice-president in a detailed report released in November.

“Some of Harris’s advisers believed the president’s almost entirely white inner circle did not show the vice president the respect she deserved,” Martin and Burns write. “Harris worried that Biden’s staff looked down on her; she fixated on real and perceived snubs in ways the West Wing found tedious.”

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