Former San Francisco mayor urges Kamala Harris to 'politely decline' VP slot, aim for AG instead

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown has urged Sen. Kamala Harris to "politely decline" a spot on Joe Biden's ticket if the 2020 presumptive Democratic nominee chooses her as his running mate.

In an op-ed headlined "Brown: Kamala Harris should say no to vice presidency" published by the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday, Brown, who has openly discussed his past extramarital relationship with Harris, urged her to reject the vice presidency and request instead to be considered for the role of attorney general in a Biden administration.

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"Harris is a tested and proven campaigner who will work her backside off to get Biden elected," Brown, 86, wrote. "That said, the vice presidency is not the job she should go for — asking to be considered as attorney general in a Biden administration would be more like it."

Brown, who has acknowledged dating Harris early in her political career, continued, "Historically, the vice presidency has often ended up being a dead end. For every George H.W. Bush, who ascended from the job to the presidency, there’s an Al Gore, who never got there.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is greeted by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 9, 2020. 

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is greeted by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 9, 2020. 

If Biden wins in November, "the Democrats will be moving into the White House in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession," Brown wrote. "The next few years promise to be a very bumpy ride. Barack Obama and the Democrats saved the nation from economic collapse when he took office, and their reward was a blowout loss in the 2010 midterm elections.

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"On the other hand, the attorney general has legitimate power," he argued. "From atop the Justice Department, the boss can make a real mark on everything from police reform to racial justice to prosecuting corporate misdeeds. And the attorney general gets to name every U.S. attorney in the country. That’s power."

Harris has long been considered a frontrunner to join the Biden ticket, but her record as a prosecutor and her contentious debate exchanges with the former vice president during the primary can be seen as liabilities.

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Speculation that Harris might be Biden’s choice increased last week however, after notes that Biden held in his hand during a news conference had Harris’ name scribbled across the top, as seen in a  photo from the AP. The senator’s name was followed by five talking points: “Do not hold grudges.” “Campaigned with me & Jill.” “Talented.” “Great help to campaign.” “Great respect for her.”

Brown said that as attorney general, "just showing up and being halfway sane will make the new AG a hero," taking shots at "the department’s current disarray under William Barr."

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"Best of all," he wrote, "being attorney general would give Harris enough distance from the White House to still be a viable candidate for the top slot in 2024 or 2028, no matter what the state of the nation."

Fox News' Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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