Leaked WH Memo Reportedly Tells Federal Agencies to Refer to ‘Biden-Harris Administration’

Patrick Goodenough | March 24, 2021 | 4:33am EDT
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President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrive in Marietta, Georgia on March 19. (Photo by Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrive in Marietta, Georgia on March 19. (Photo by Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – An email purportedly from a member of the White House communications team instructs federal agencies to refer to the “Biden-Harris Administration in official communications,” the latest indication of what appears to be a concerted effort to emphasize the role and maximize the visibility of Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Please be sure to reference the current administration as the ‘Biden-Harris Administration’ in official public communications,” reads the directive, leaked by an employee of an unnamed federal agency to the website Outspoken, a project of Log Cabin Republicans.

Outspoken said in a report Tuesday that the language now appears on the websites of all 15 executive departments, from Agriculture to Veterans Affairs.

The White House website has a landing page entitled “The Biden-Harris Administration.” The equivalent page on the Trump White House website was entitled simply “The Administration.”

The "administration" landing pages of the Biden and Trump White House websites. (Screen grabs)
The "administration" landing pages of the Biden and Trump White House websites. (Screen grabs)

The top of the Obama White House webpage was headlined “The White House/President Barack Obama,” although further down it read, “Learn more about the people who carry out the priorities of the Obama-Biden Administration.” The Bush White House website topper read, “The White House / President George W. Bush.”

The Biden administration’s Twitter account bio reads: “Welcome to the Biden-Harris White House!” Its Facebook page says “Welcome to the Biden-Harris White House,” and its Instagram account says, “Welcome to the official Biden-Harris White House.”

Other examples of recent usage by federal agencies or administration officials include:

--The OMB’s Twitter account is entitled “Office of Management and Budget for the Biden-Harris Administration.”

--In a speech at the U.N. on Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield referred to the “Biden-Harris Administration” three times, but not once to the “Biden Administration.”

--A United States Department of Agriculture release on March 22 said, “In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system …”

--State Department spokesman Ned Price  has used “Biden-Harris Administration” frequently during daily press briefings, for example, “It is now once again officially the policy of the United States, of the Biden-Harris Administration, to stand up for and to defend the rights of LGBTQI people” (Feb. 12), and, “The overriding goal of the Biden-Harris Administration is to support a peaceful democratic transition in Venezuela …” (Feb. 3).

--Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge said on March 18: “Under the Biden-Harris Administration, HUD is making greater efforts to keep Americans safe from COVID-19.”

--White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki uses the term regularly during press briefings, including in her very first briefing on inauguration day, when she said, “When the president asked me to serve in this role, we talked about the importance of bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room, and he asked me to ensure we are communicating about the policies across the Biden-Harris Administration and the work his team is doing every single day on behalf of all American people.”

--Official communications from the White House press office are peppered with the phrase, including, in the last week alone:

Mar. 23: “The Biden-Harris Administration’s program has made vaccines available in over 800 pharmacies to date.”

Mar. 19:  “The Biden-Harris Administration is partnering with 25 Health Centers to provide …”

Mar. 18:  “… supporting Americans who are facing housing challenges is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration.”

Mar. 18:  “…  to discuss the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis”

Mar. 16:  “The Biden-Harris Administration's “Help Is Here” tour continued today focusing on how the American Recue Plan … As part of the tour, Biden-Harris Administration officials will continue traveling across the country …”

Since the inauguration nine weeks ago, Harris has spoken to a number of world leaders by phone. They include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi.

She also met with the first minister and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, spoke by phone to World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and took part in Biden’s virtual summit with Trudeau last month.

Harris’ predecessor also played an important role in foreign policy.

President Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence to Europe in 2017 to assure allies that the U.S. was committed to the transatlantic alliance, and the same year Pence took a lead in relations with the anti-Maduro opposition in Venezuela, led by Juan Guaido, whom the U.S. and dozens of other countries regard as the legitimate interim president.

Pence chaired a U.N. Security Council meeting in 2017, scathingly criticizing the U.N. Human Rights Council as a body that “doesn’t deserve its name.” He was also heavily involved in efforts to get Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release American pastor Andrew Brunson, and was frequently in the room when Trump met with visiting world leaders.

Still, administration agencies and officials generally referred to “the Trump Administration.”  The term “Trump-Pence Administration” was if anything used more often by critics – such as LGBT rights advocates who sought to emphasize the role of Pence, a conservative Christian.

When he was campaigning for the White House, Biden’s “Plan to Advance LGBTQ+ Equality in America and Around the World” referred to the “Trump Administration” just once, but to the “Trump-Pence Administration” 16 times.

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