The White House has now begun officially referring to President Joe Biden’s administration as the “Biden-Harris administration” and has instructed federal agencies to begin referring to it as such as well.
The move is designed to elevate the status of Vice President Kamala Harris, according to a federal employee who shared an email with Outspoken.
“Please be sure to reference the current administration as the ‘Biden-Harris Administration’ in official public communications,” says the email, with “Biden-Harris Administration” in bold letters.
The White House’s official Twitter account is also now reflecting the unprecedented change.
“Big news: The Biden-Harris Administration set a new record this weekend with 6 million shots reported administered. We’re ramping up vaccination efforts every day to get America vaccinated quickly and equitably,” a tweet noted Tuesday afternoon.
Big news: The Biden-Harris Administration set a new record this weekend with 6 million shots reported administered. We’re ramping up vaccination efforts every day to get America vaccinated quickly and equitably.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 22, 2021
As noted by OutSpoken, neither of the two previous administrations mentioned the vice president this way.
“Follow for the latest from President Obama and his administration,” the Obama White House description noted.
“Welcome to @WhiteHouse! Follow for the latest from President @realDonaldTrump and his Administration,” said the Trump White House description. And both were referred to as the “Obama administration” and the “Trump administration” respectively.
“The highly specific language also appears on the websites of all 15 executive departments. Press releases and other communications from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General all exclusively refer to the Biden-Harris Administration, in lieu of only naming the president, which has been customary until now,” Outspoken noted.
In addition, the outlet reported, the “Biden-Harris Administration” designation also applies to any agency that works with the federal government. For instance, the email provided to the outlet by the federal employee, who requested anonymity, was sent to an agency Congress established that deals with foreign relations but isn’t part of the State Department.
The change in phraseology comes as questions about Biden’s mental and physical health exploded again following his repeated stumbling up the steps of Air Force One on Friday. The White House tried to say that the wind contributed to Biden’s fall, but that explanation was dismissed by critics as implausible. Biden’s spill up the steps to the presidential plane follows an incident in December when he said he fractured his foot chasing his dog.
The White House said Biden was okay after stumbling up the steps, but speculation about Harris replacing him had already been trending on social media. Also last week, Biden referred to his VP as “President Harris,” not the first time he’s made that verbal gaffe.
“Now, when President Harris and I took a virtual tour of a vaccination center in Arizona not long ago, one of the nurses on that tour injecting people and giving vaccinations said that each shot was like administering a dose of hope,” Biden said at the White House.
And earlier this month during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Biden appeared to forget the name of the famous Defense Department HQ as well as his own defense secretary, Lloyd Austin.
“And I want to thank the Sec, the former general, I keep calling him general, my, my, uh, the guy who runs that outfit over there,” he stammered. “I want to make sure we thank the secretary for all he’s done to try to implement what we’ve just talked about and for recommending these two women for promotion. Thank you all.”
Meanwhile, Harris has increasingly been holding solo phone calls with world leaders, which is not at all the traditional role of a vice president. The Washington Post has framed these conversations as “an unusually large number for a new vice president.”
“World leaders expect to hear from the president of the United States, not the vice president,” former Ambassador to Germany and former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell told Outspoken. “There are certainly times when the vice president has to step in but not for the introductory call.
“The fact that the White House is instructing federal agencies to replace ‘Biden’ with ‘Biden-Harris’ after less than 60 days is indicative of the struggle Joe Biden is already having being president,” Grenell added. “This is a signal that he can’t do the job alone.”
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