Generally, negotiating policy and developing strong relationships with leaders of foreign nations comes as one of the defining roles of the Presidency as the figurehead of America. Since voted in by the entire nation, we expect our President to represent us on the world’s stage and represent us well. But, in yet another way the Biden administration breaks American custom, Vice President Kamala Harris has been reportedly handling the calls for President Joe Biden.
On Monday, the White House announced Harris had spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron, discussing matters only two heads of state have business discussing.
In a White House statement, Harris (on the behalf of our President), “expressed her commitment to strengthening bilateral ties between the United States and France and to revitalizing the transatlantic alliance,” a readout said. She and Macron “agreed on the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change, and support democracy at home and around the world.”
“They also discussed numerous regional challenges, including those in the Middle East and Africa, and the need to confront them together,” according to the readout.
Though the official readout contained no mention of President Biden, Harris did tweet out that “@POTUS and I look forward to working with President Macron to build a better future for our two countries.”
Earlier this month, Harris also took a call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, two days after Biden’s first call as President after being sworn into office, similarly with Trudeau.
“The Prime Minister congratulated the Vice President on her historic election, and she recalled fondly her years spent in Montréal,” a readout from Trudeau’s office said, though the call didn’t end at mere congratulation as the two took up subjects like covid-19 relief, climate change, and economic policy, according to a statement from the Vice President.
“We discussed our commitment to work closely on several issues, including combating COVID-19, addressing climate change, and expanding our economic partnership in ways that advance the recovery and create jobs in both countries,” Harris said in a statement after the call.
Suffice to say, Vice Presidents don’t typically call foreign leaders, as the role lies as a key tenet of the Presidency, especially only weeks into Biden’s administration. Former Vice President Mike Pence didn’t share a single call with Macron or Trudeau, though he did visit them for special meetings on a few different occasions.
Despite the obvious subversion of Presidential roles, Harris’s early calls could indicate an increased role in foreign policy for the Vice President.