Pence, stepping into a leadership void, calls Harris to offer assistance ahead of Inauguration Day.

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Pence, stepping into a leadership void, calls Harris to offer assistance ahead of Inauguration Day.


Vice President Mike Pence telephoned Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Thursday to congratulate her and offer his assistance ahead of next week’s swearing-in, the latest indication that Mr. Pence is filling the leadership role all but abdicated by President Trump.

The conversation, which was relayed by two officials briefed on the call, was described as gracious and pleasant. The discussion is the first time Mr. Pence and Ms. Harris have spoken since they debated each other last fall.

It also represents the only one-on-one conversation between elected officials in the outgoing and incoming administration: Mr. Trump has refused to call President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and has not even fully conceded defeat in his public remarks.

Mr. Pence and his wife, Karen, may have Ms. Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, to the vice-presidential residence before the inauguration on Wednesday, according to one official. But those plans remain uncertain, in part because of the security threats posed to the nation’s capital have made scheduling fluid.

Typically, the outgoing first family and the incoming family meet at the White House the morning of the inauguration. But Mr. Trump is planning to fly to Florida that morning, has no plans to speak to Mr. Biden and will not attend the inauguration.

The Pences will attend the inauguration, in the tradition of past second families, and Mr. Biden has said that Mr. Pence’s presence there will be an important example of the peaceful transfer of power.

In the week since a violent mob attacked the Capitol, with some of them hoping to kill Mr. Pence, the president has said nothing in public about his vice president, who has been one of the most deferential members of Mr. Trump’s staff until a rift last week.

But with Washington filled with armed National Guard troops following the attack, Mr. Pence has stepped into the role usually filled by presidents in a time of crisis. He returned to the Senate chamber after the attack to preside over the certification of the Electoral College. In the days since, he has attended law enforcement briefings about the security threat, and on Thursday, he made an impromptu visit to the Capitol to thank the soldiers posted there.



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