As White House staffers rush to help Vice President Kamala Harris reboot her image for the 2024 re-election campaign, former White House chief of staff Ron Klain said sexism and racism are partly to blame for her unpopularity.
"Well, I do think sexism and racism are part of the problem, no question about it," Klain told journalist Kara Swisher on Thursday's episode of her podcast, "On With Kara Swisher."
"I think she was not as well known in national politics before she became vice president. And I think that she hasn’t gotten the credit for all that she’s done," he added.
Klain's comments come as White House staffers are reportedly trying to help Harris boost her low approval ratings after President Biden announced his candidacy for re-election this week with Harris on the ticket.
While neither Biden nor Harris registers above 50% approval, Harris has consistently ranked lower than Biden, hovering in the high 30s. Biden's approval has bounced around the low-to-mid 40s.
The vice president is expected to face intensified scrutiny in the 2024 presidential campaign considering Biden will be 82 on Inauguration Day 2025. To reassure voters, senior Biden adviser Anita Dunn has tasked White House teams to schedule more events featuring Harris and promoting more popular aspects of the Democratic platform, Axios reported.
The first two years of Biden's presidency saw Harris tasked with the least popular and most difficult issues, such as reforming elections and handling the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Many reports have suggested the Biden and Harris teams have struggled to work together since taking office in 2021. Harris has also been dogged by a revolving door of staffers, many of whom depart and complain of a toxic work environment.
Reuters reported last month that Biden and Harris have "a good working relationship," though the president "has frustrations about some of her work."
Harris has also frequently been ridiculed for making "word salad" in public speaking appearances, such as this week when she spoke about abortion at her alma mater, Howard University, Tuesday.
"So, I think it's very important, as you have heard from so many incredible leaders for us at every moment in time and certainly this one, to see the moment in time in which we exist and are present, and to be able to contextualize it, to understand where we exist in the history and in the moment as it relates not only to the past but the future," Harris said in video shared by the Republican National Committee and others on Twitter.
Klain, who served as Biden's chief of staff for two years before leaving the White House this year, told Swisher that, in his view, Harris "takes a lot of grief unjustifiably."
Fox News' Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.