Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., said that voters have no faith in Vice President Kamala Harris if she were to succeed President Biden, in remarks that infuriated some of her passionate supporters.
Phillips, a millionaire businessman and House Democrat serving in his third term, announced his longshot primary challenge against President Biden last month. He has sought to walk the line of not being too harsh on Biden and Harris while making the case that the Democratic primary voters want another choice for the 2024 ticket.
“I hear from others who know her a lot better than I do that many think she’s not well positioned,” Phillips said of Harris, in an interview with The Atlantic. “She is not well-prepared, doesn’t have the right disposition and the right competencies to execute that office.” Phillips also said that “Harris’s approval numbers are even worse than Biden’s.”
“It’s pretty clear that she’s not somebody people have faith in,” the congressman said.
But Phillips was careful not to openly and directly criticize Harris. “From my personal experiences, I’ve not seen those deficiencies,” he said, adding that he doesn’t believe that Biden will “replace Vice President Harris on the ticket, ever.”
Phillips took heat on the left for the remarks once they began to spread on social media.
“Dean Phillips should apologize – hiding behind the well worn ‘people are saying’ and leaning in to gossip over your own experience for the sake of scoring cheap political points is not leadership,” said CNN commentator and Democratic strategist Karen Finney on X.
“Apparently Dean Phillips is floundering so hard that he’s now resorting to attacking Vice-President Harris. He better keep the VP’s name out of his mouth and apologize. No one will support him so he’s going to torch his entire reputation on the way out. Sad to see,” Robert Garcia, former mayor of Long Beach, Calif., wrote on X.
He was also pressed about the comments on CNN Tuesday night, as anchor Abby Phillip accused him of hiding behind others’ words to issue attacks on Harris.
“That’s what people have told me,” Phillips said. “I did not articulate that distinctly. That was asked of me… She’s been kind. She’s been thoughtful… I don’t recall saying those words. I recall those words being shared with me and saying that’s what people have been saying.”
Phillips also said that he thinks former President Trump will select Robert F. Kennedy Jr., now running as an independent, as his eventual running mate. “And they will be very difficult to beat,” Phillips said.
A new poll released in November found that Kennedy has more support among Americans under 45 in critical battleground states than both Trump and Biden. According to the poll, 34 percent of registered voters between 18 and 29 are behind Kennedy for president.
Harris and Phillips’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien, Houston Keene and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.