Largely Out of Sight in Washington, Kamala Harris Preps for White House


That process is made no easier by President Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the election results and authorize an official transition process in which Ms. Harris and her aides would have access to White House officials and documents. Ms. Harris has not been contacted by her departing counterpart, Vice President Mike Pence. Days after the 2016 election, Mr. Biden hosted Mr. Pence for nearly two hours at the official vice-presidential compound at the U.S. Naval Observatory. “I told Mike, the vice president-elect, that I’m available to him 24/7,” Mr. Biden told reporters.

Biden-Harris transition officials declined to comment.

For now, Ms. Harris remains a senator. It is unclear when she might relinquish her seat. Mr. Obama stepped down from his Senate seat days after his 2008 election, but Mr. Biden, ever the sentimentalist, hung on to his until shortly before he was sworn in as vice president the following January, telling friends he wanted to take one last oath of office for the seat he had held for decades. (Mr. Biden also said he wanted to retain his vote in case it might be needed in a lame-duck Senate session.)


Like Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris also has her own staff to build — another task potentially made more challenging by her relative lack of Washington experience. While Mr. Biden, after nearly 50 years in the capital, has a network of hundreds of former Senate and White House aides, Ms. Harris has a smaller circle, though she is expected to hire several familiar faces from her Senate office and her 2020 campaign.


On social media, Ms. Harris has stayed rigorously on message, posting on Twitter several times about the coronavirus and her determination to work with Mr. Biden to contain it. “In just a few months, we will swear in a new president who is committed to getting the pandemic under control: @JoeBiden,” she tweeted on Saturday morning.

Later in the day, Ms. Harris, who will become the first occupant of the White House who is of Indian heritage, also tweeted greetings for the beginning of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

Ms. Harris has ventured out in the Washington area at least once since the election. On a rainy Veterans Day, wearing bluejeans and a black raincoat, she and Mr. Emhoff dropped by Georgetown’s Dog Tag Bakery, which was founded to help support veterans.

She has otherwise been out of sight at her condo building, about a mile from the White House, and twice that distance from the Naval Observatory complex she will soon call home. “No great thing created suddenly,” reads an inscription on the side of the building, a quote from the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus.


Mimicking a sad face, the server at the Bluestone Lane cafe on the building’s ground floor said he hoped she would visit again soon.

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