July 7, 2024

Kamala Harris' past romance with Willie Brown revisited amid White House turmoil

With calls for Joe Biden's exit from the presidential race growing louder by the day, attentions have turned to the background and qualifications of his vice president, who would, under most scenarios, be considered the Democratic Party's heir apparent.

The heightened focus on Kamala Harris has prompted some to revisit the manner in which she got her start in politics, including her past romantic relationship with powerful California politician Willie Brown, as the Daily Mail reports.

Brown-Harris connection, explained

Though she has long worked to downplay her connection to Brown and the role it played in her political rise, Harris' link to the powerful Golden State liberal was undeniably important toward the start of her career.

The pair met sometime around 1993, when Brown, already a prominent civil rights attorney, held the job of speaker of California's state assembly.

Fully 31 years separated Brown and Harris, but that did not stop them from starting an affair, even while Brown was still married to -- albeit separated from -- his wife, Blanche Vitero.

According to many of Harris' critics, it was only with Brown's help that she received lucrative appointments to the state's Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and to the California Medical Assistance Commission, positions which served as stepping-stones to elected office.

Even after their romance ended, Brown remained a supporter – and endorser – of Harris as she successfully sought the roles of San Francisco's district attorney and later of California attorney general.

Candid recollections and advice

Ever the blunt -- and sometime flamboyant -- politician that he has long been, Brown penned an op-ed in 2019 addressing his controversial connection to Harris.

The piece, published in the San Francisco Chronicle was titled, “Sure, I dated Kamala Harris. So What?”

Always a willing mentor -- even when his advice was perhaps not wanted -- Brown explained that he told Harris that she should “politely decline” a potential offer from Joe Biden to serve as his vice president, suggesting that the job was a “dead end” and “not the job” she ought to be seeking.

Brown opined that Harris should instead have her eyes on the role of attorney general, which he said would provide her with “legitimate power.”

However, given Biden's current predicament and the increasing drumbeat from those calling for his departure from the political stage, Harris' position as VP may prove to be precisely the launch pad to power -- or at least to her party's nomination -- that Brown never thought it would.

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