“We are running against Kamala Harris in 2024, and everyone knows it,” presidential candidate Nikki Haley said in an interview in early June on Fox News.
That’s a sentiment that has been expressed throughout the campaign, and not only by the former United Nations ambassador. The GOP, and the conservative media, have spent a great deal of time in the current campaign cycle trying to push a certain narrative: That the vice president is singularly incompetent and bad at talking, and an obvious liability to the Democratic Party, now and in the future.
And because President Biden is 80 years old and could keel over dead at any moment, the argument goes, the Democrats might just be stuck with Harris as their standard bearer, either before or after the 2024 election. And if Harris ends up as president, we’re all doomed.
Polls Sink Across the Board
Some versions have some scenario in which Harris will be dropped from the ticket, or perhaps that there’s a secret plan or deal in place for Biden to step aside at some point and allow Harris the presidency. The assumption is always that the Democrats have no hope in any election in which Harris is the nominee- and it is the person making the argument, a Republican opposed to Biden and Harris, who is “concerned” that this will happen.
Yes, Harris has a low approval rating. But, as the Pew Research Center noted in a new survey released this week, every major figure in politics has an underwater approval rating, including Trump, Biden, Harris, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.
This week the National Review was the latest to lay out a version of such a scenario.
“Right now, Donald Trump is beating Ron DeSantis, and Joe Biden is beating Donald Trump despite barely hanging on to the ability to perform his duties at age 80. This is a recipe for a President Harris to end up calling the shots in the coming years, and considering the consequences, it is remarkably under-discussed,” the magazine’s Morning Jolt newsletter said.
Donald Trump Support(ed) Kamala Harris
There’s another problem with the focus on Harris: President Donald Trump donated to Kamala Harris, earlier in her career, on more than one occasion.
According to a USA Today fact-checking column back in 2020, Trump donated $5,000 to Harris when she ran for California attorney general in 2011, and another $1,000 in 2013. The former President’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, gave $2,000 to Harris in 2014.
Both donations came prior to Trump’s declaration for president in 2015.
Harris later re-directed those donations, albeit not until after Trump got into politics, years later.
“Harris campaign spokesman Ian Sams told McClatchy that Harris donated the $6,000 Trump had contributed to a nonprofit that advocates for civil and human rights for Central Americans,” reporter Emily Cadei wrote, per USA Today. “But that donation wasn’t made until 2015, a year after she won her reelection for attorney general and as she was launching her run for the Senate.”
In addition, CBS News reported in 2019, Trump donated to Biden in the past, during one of his Senate reelection campaigns in 2001.
“This question has been asked and answered by President Trump many times,” a Trump campaign official when asked for comment on the donations told CBS in 2019. “As a businessman, it was par for the course to donate to elected officials in both parties.”
Trump had even managed to turn this history of giving to his advantage, in a 2015 presidential debate, in which he called out what he characterized as a corrupt system that he knew from having participated in it.
“I give to everybody. When they call, I give,” Trump said of his past donations. “And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. That’s a broken system.”
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.