Pete Buttigieg dismisses media speculation about ‘rivalry’ with Kamala Harris

Pete Buttigieg dismisses media speculation about ‘rivalry’ with Kamala Harris
Both Harris and Buttigieg are considered top potential 2024 candidates if Biden doesn’t run

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has dismissed speculation surrounding an apparent growing rift between him and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, the former South Bend mayor characterised the working relationship between himself and Ms Harris as fully on track.

“[S]he and I are part of a team that is disciplined and doesn’t focus on what’s obsessing the commentators. We’re too busy with a job to do,” said Secretary Buttigieg.

“There’s no room to get caught up in the parlor games, and I’m proud to be part of the Biden-Harris team,” he said, while adding that the administration was “laser focused on getting the job done”.

The pair are thought to be top contenders for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination should President Joe Biden decide not to run for reelection.

Mr Biden is 79 years old and will be 82 at the time of the 2024 election. However the president has publicly and privately indicated that he plans to run for reelection.

Rumours of a supposed rivalry between VP Harris and Mr Buttigieg started in the right-leaning Washington Examiner earlier this year as the two top administration officials emerged as campaigners for the White House’s two-pronged infrastructure agenda: a $1 trillion hard infrastructure package, and a larger $2.2tn social services and climate spending plan that passed last week after much delay.

The vice president and her team are also supposedly at odds with Mr Biden and his staff.

CNN last week reported a rift amid concerns from Ms Harris and her team that she is being under-utilized as a surrogate for Mr Biden and is unprepared for the possibility of running as his successor in 2024. The White House furiously denied that report this week. The Vice President appeared prominently at the signing of Mr Biden’s Build Back Better Act on Monday.

The Independent has reached out to the vice president’s office for comment.