Unverified reports from the White House indicate that there is a division between the camps of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris regarding who should ultimately take the blame for the collapse of the American effort in Afghanistan. While Biden has given one brief public speech regarding Afghanistan, Harris has not publicly commented on the events of the last week and she appears to have no intention of letting herself be associated with the disaster.
In a short speech, after which he took no questions, Biden defended his own actions in Afghanistan after a lengthy silence on the matter and an urgent return to the White House from Camp David.
While Biden defended his own conduct and claimed responsibility for the still popular decision to withdrawal from Afghanistan, he attempted to deflect blame for the handling of the situation.
Biden pointed out that Afghan troops largely evaporated without a fight when Taliban forces approached their positions, arguing that this proved that the timing of the departure would not have made a difference after two decades.
He ignored the more widespread criticism focused on the abject failure of the military and intelligence side of the withdrawal, as well as the botched handling of the evacuation by his State Department.
Kamala Harris was completely silent as the situation unfolded; the already unpopular vice president made no attempt to defend the handling of the withdrawal by the White House.
Harris had previously made a point of praising the decisions and plans made by Biden repeatedly, bragging about her intimate involvement in the decision making process.
Kamala Harris desperate to avoid blame
Now Harris, already reportedly one of the most unpopular vice presidents in American history, is determined to avoid taking the blame for something she was previously proud to endorse.
While reports of explosive confrontations between camps in the Biden Administration are unconfirmed, there is no doubt that Kamala Harris is working hard to distance herself from the catastrophe in Kabul.
The vice president, who still has obvious presidential ambitions, may fear that other Democrats will attempt to assign additional blame for the situation to a leader who is already becoming less viable as a 2024 candidate.
The greatest responsibility given to Harris so far, the crisis at the Mexico border, has not seen any improvement from her limited attempts to intervene.
Given that she was never popular enough even within her own party to make much progress towards the presidency before being chosen as a running mate by the Biden campaign, the future for a candidate Harris looks increasingly grim.
While the president and vice president feud over responsibility for the Afghanistan humiliation, some Americans are realizing that the diseases within the government which led to the debacle go far deeper than any one individual.