White House press secretary Jen Psaki promoted Vice President Kamala Harris during her briefing's opening remarks, an unusual move amid Harris scrutiny and speculation about President Joe Biden's future.
Psaki amplified an update Harris received about Biden's electric vehicle charging station plan as part of his bipartisan infrastructure deal, during a briefing that was already expected to be short because it was scheduled between two Biden public appearances.
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She also spoke about Harris's work as one of Biden's illegal migration czars, though concentrating on root causes from Central America.
"The vice president will announce during the roundtable with CEOs that new private sector investments in Central America now total over $1.2 billion," Psaki said of another Harris event Monday. "These commitments are in response to the vice president's call to action launched in May for businesses and social enterprises to make new, significant commitments to sustainably address the root causes of migration."
Harris delivered brief remarks, which were not livestreamed, after her Monday meeting at the Brandywine Maintenance Facility in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
She has come under a bright spotlight as even some White House aides complain about her and her team. Several high-profile Harris staffers have already left her office or are due to depart by the end of the year.
Harris supporters contend her negative media coverage is driven by racism and sexism and that Biden is underutilizing her. Another aspect of the attention is speculation Biden will not seek reelection in 2024. Harris, as vice president, is widely considered to be his heir apparent.
Psaki repeated Biden's "intention" was to run for president again next cycle.
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"The White House's message is we're focused right now on what the American people elected the president to do just over a year ago, which is to get COVID under control, to put people back to work, and to help give people some breathing room," she said of the chatter. "And we hope other people keep their focus on that as well."