Vice President Kamala Harris has made headlines recently amid reports that numerous staffers in her office have alleged gross mistreatment bordering on abuse, and according to the Washington Examiner, this is not the first time such allegations have been brought forth about the Democrats’ heir apparent.
The revelations come on the heels of a Politico exposé detailing the accounts of no fewer than 22 current and former aides to the vice president as well as administration insiders who claimed that Harris’ office is “not a healthy environment” and is a place “where people feel treated like s***.”
The Politico story characterized the vice president’s office as “a tense and at times dour” atmosphere where “ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out,” with at least one staffer revealing that they had pursued the help of a therapist to “resolve trauma from the on-the-job abuse” suffered while in the employ of Harris.
According to the Examiner, claims that Harris is far from an ideal employer date back to her time as a district attorney in San Francisco and are in fact well-known among those in Democrat political circles. “Look, this is a bottom-line business,” one party operative told the outlet, adding, “And the bottom line is the vice president has challenges with staff wherever she is.”
The Examiner recounted stories told to Business Insider by Barbara O’Connor, a California State University – Sacramento professor who had a history of placing interns in Harris’ offices during her tenures as attorney general and a U.S. Senate. According to O’Connor, many of those young staffers came to hear in tears seeking transfers out of those positions.
Staff relations issues also came to the forefront during Harris’ failed 2020 presidential campaign, as the New York Post has also reported, with then-state operations director Kelly Mehlenbacher having resigned in very public fashion with a letter in which she outlined the harsh handling she had received and witnessed. “This is my third presidential campaign,” she said at the time, adding, “and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly.”
Given the variety of office settings and levels of government in which these types of claims have emerged, a charitable view of the situation might be to blame high-level aides to Harris who have more hands-on duties when it comes to managing lower-level staffers. However, as one former insider said to the Examiner, “The consistent thread with all of the infighting and dissension, with all of the different power centers of Kamala Harris, is Vice President Harris.”
Though she has apparently been dogged by similar complaints for years, the claims against Harris are perhaps far more concerning to Democrats now that it is widely assumed that she will be the party’s standard-bearer once President Joe Biden exits the stage. Historian David Greenberg believes Harris has sufficient time to stem the tide of bad press, suggesting “Nothing in the news now will matter in 2024.”
However, with the American electorate largely unsold on Harris’ ability to handle her current job, let alone ascend to the highest office in the land, the deluge of negative reporting on the vice president can’t be sitting well with the powers that be on the left.