White House refutes report of Biden-Harris split on Palestinians

The White House on Thursday doubled down on its insistence that there is “no daylight” between President Biden and Vice President Harris regarding support for the Palestinian people.

At the daily White House press briefing, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked National Security Council spokesman John Kirby about a Politico report that said Harris has urged Biden to show more concern for Palestinian casualties in the Israel-Hamas war.

Kirby said the White House has already refuted “the basic premise of the story, that there’s some sort of daylight between the vice president and the president.” 

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National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby talks to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“I found the headline of the story interesting — that the vice president is pushing the White House to, you fill in the blank,” he said. “Last I looked, the vice president is part of the White House. She’s part of the team. And if she wasn’t offering her advice and counsel to the president on innumerable issues, that would be a story. Her job is to provide advice and counsel to the president.”

Politico on Thursday cited three unnamed sources in a report that said Harris has been urging White House officials, including Biden, to show more sensitivity to Palestinian civilians. 

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Vice President Kamala Harris

Vice President Harris speaks outside the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 8. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Harris has reportedly argued internally that the White House needs a “day after” plan for when the fighting in Gaza stops and believes the U.S. should be “tougher” on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A senior administration official told Politico the vice president has called for being “more forceful at seeking a long-term peace and two-state solution.” 

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In response to the story, Harris’ press secretary, Kristen Allen, said, “There is no daylight between the president and the vice president, nor has there been.” 

She emphasized that the White House’s unified message is that Israel has a right and responsibility to defend itself, that humanitarian aid must be allowed to enter Gaza, that innocent Palestinians should be protected and that the U.S. “remains committed to a two-state solution.” 

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Kirby added that the “entire leadership team” in the Biden administration “wants to see no civilian casualties, wants to see the Israelis be more surgical, more precise” in their strikes on Hamas. 

“The president is comfortable and confident that in Vice President Harris he has a real teammate and a significant leader who understands the foreign policy direction that he’s trying to take this country and our leadership on the world stage, and is candid, forthright, educated, smart and willing to tell him exactly what she thinks,” Kirby said. 

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