Kamala Harris avoids all mention of Biden campaign crisis as she tries to win over Black voters

Vice President Kamala Harris barely mentioned her own running mate on Saturday as she spoke to Black voters and talked about the 2024 race at the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans.

The nation’s first Black vice president has been seen by many Democrats as the obvious choice to pick up the mantle of the party’s 2024 nomination should Joe Biden step aside in the coming days — a proposition the president has firmly denied will take place.

But, on Saturday, she clearly appeared ready to take on that role regardless as she hammered former president Donald Trump and sought to lay out the stakes of the election.

She spoke for just under 30 minutes and only mentioned Biden directly one time, making no mention of the growing movement within her party for the preisident to bow out of the 2024 race.

Instead, she reserved the majority of her words for Trump, whom allies of the incumbent president argue the press has not held to the same standard — despite the seemingly endless coverage of his criminal trials, convictions, and various scandals.

“Sadly, the press has not been covering it as much as they should: SCOTUS told this individual convicted of 34 felonies he will be immune from the activity he told us he is prepared to engage in if he gets back into the White House,” Harris told attendees at the event.

Trump, she added, is “openly talking about his admiration of dictators and his intention to be a dictator on day one, who is openly talked about his intention to weaponize the DOJ.”

The vice president also went after a familiar bogeyman: the Supreme Court ruling in 2022 overturning Roe v Wade and ending federal protections for abortion rights.

“The court of Thurgood [Marshall], and [Ruth Bader Ginsburg], took a most fundamental right, the right to make decisions about your own body,” said Harris.

Harris’s remarks come amid growing uncertainty among Democrats regarding whether Biden is truly the most effective candidate to lead their party’s ticket against a resurgent Trump this November.

While Biden has effectively wrapped up the Democratic nomination without facing a prominent challenger in this year’s primaries, party electeds, left-leaning pundits and most crucially voters are now coalescing around the idea that his diminished abilities prove too much of a burden for him to serve another four years in the White House – to say nothing of winning another election.

Biden has denied this, and stated firmly that he will remain in the race.

In an interview that aired on Friday with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, the incumbent president quipped that only an act of god would be able to budge him from his campaign.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on Saturday at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans as the Biden campaign battles worsening concerns about the president’s age (Getty Images)
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on Saturday at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans as the Biden campaign battles worsening concerns about the president’s age (Getty Images)

In recent days, he has sought to address his tired, raspy showing at last Thursday’s debate with a handful of campaign appearances and interviews, though none lasted for longer than a half hour.

“You know, when you’re way ahead and everything is working, everybody is there. But when you take a hit and you got knocked down, you get back up,” Biden told a crowd at a short appearance on Friday in Wisconsin.

“This is the most dangerous election in American history. And we beat [Trump] once, and I’m confident we can beat him again.”

Despite his defiance, some of his campaign’s public supporters are privately admitting to news agencies that they do not see a path forward for him in the race.

Biden is also facing a full-scale rebellion on Capitol Hill.

It was reported this week that Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is preparing a letter behind the scenes to be signed by him and his colleagues in the upper chamber urging the president to drop out and anoint a successor.

In the House of Representatives, meanwhile, that rebellion has gone public — a handful of Democrats in the lower chamber have already released statements urging Biden to step aside, with Angie Craig being the latest to come forward on Saturday.

A number of the president’s prominent allies among House Democrats have similarly taken a half-step towards this position and urged the president publicly to take the concerns about his age, in the wake of the disastrous debate, seriously.