Recent tumult and noteworthy staff turnover in the office of the vice president has drawn significant attention to growing concerns about Kamala Harris’ political future, and a recent Washington Post report in which at least one staffer labels her a “bully” is unlikely to help her case.
Though Harris has long faced criticism about her handling of numerous high-profile tasks delegated to her by President Joe Biden, the rumor mill regarding the infighting and discontent plaguing her inner circle has heated up significantly of late.
Adding to the scrutiny is the fact that several high-level staffers in Harris’ office have announced their planned departures over the past weeks, including communications director Ashley Etienne as well as senior adviser and chief vice presidential spokesperson, Symone Sanders.
Compounding speculation about chaos and toxicity in Harris’ realm is the fact that two other key staff members, director of press operations Peter Velz and deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs Vince Evans, have declared that they will also be moving to new opportunities imminently, according to The Hill.
In the Post’s telling, those who have spent time working closely with Harris understand the reason why this type of upheaval seems to be the norm, namely, the vice president’s “soul-destroying” management style that sends employees heading for the exits sooner rather than later.
As former aide to Harris Gil Duran wondered to the outlet, “Who are the next talented people you’re going to bring in and burn through and then have [them] pretend they’re retiring for positive reasons?”
Duran noted that there definite “patterns” at play when it comes to the personnel instability in Harris’ office, noting, “One of the things we’ve said in our little text groups among each other is what is the common denominator through all this and it’s her.”
Another source with knowledge of Harris’ treatment of staff recounted that the vice president has a habit of ignoring briefing materials prepared by staff only to lash out when she is exposed for being unprepared, lamenting, “It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work… . So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully, and it’s not really clear why.”
With brutal assessments such as these making the rounds, and Biden’s mental faculties increasingly in question, it is no surprise that there is now, according to the Los Angeles Times, “open panic” within the Democrat Party about what to do next.