A new leak from within Kamala Harris’ office is not good news for the VP or for Joe Biden. Biden famously said he would not tolerate any mistreatment of staff so this puts him in an awkward position.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” said one source. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—.”
“It all starts at the top,” said another about Kamala Harris. Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson for Harris, disputed the leaks saying, “Black women like me would not have the opportunity to work in politics without Tina (Kamala’s chief of staff).” Of the anonymous leakers, she said: “People are cowards to do this, this way.”
“We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day. What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I’m like ‘welcome to the club,’” Sanders said.
“We have created a culture where people if there is anything anyone would like to raise, there are avenues for them to do so. Whoever has something they would like to raise, they should raise it directly.”
From The Daily Mail:
Tensions started to boil over after Harris finally decided to visit the border last week, blindsiding staffers, according to a Politico report based on interviews with 22 current and former vice presidential aides, officials and associates.
Sources described a tense atmosphere with low morale and trust, as well as bad communication, according to the outlet.
Flournoy (Kamala’s chief of staff) has allegedly created an environment where ‘ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out,’ the outlet reported. She allegedly ‘refuses to take responsibility’ and blames staffers for negative results.
Some of the sources told Politico that Harris also is responsible for how her office is run, claiming that the toxic environment ‘all starts at the top.’
‘People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,’ said one source.
‘It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s**t.’
The sources claimed that even President Joe Biden’s office is concerned about the treatment of staff.
Biden, on the day he was inaugurated, warned presidential appointees while swearing them in that he would fire them ‘on the spot’ if he were to hear that they have shown ‘disrespect’ others.
‘I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect or talk down to someone, I promise you, I will fire you on the spot — on the spot. No ifs ands or buts,’ Biden said at the time.
Weeks later, Harris finally decided to take the trip to El Paso. Her team insisted that it was not in response to her critics. But other aides and confidants said it was evident she was trying to just move past the coverage and, in doing so, may have helped affirm the right-wing misinformation campaign against her.
It didn’t help matters that the border visit seemed hastily put together, symbolized by a news conference Harris held in which she struggled to speak over the engine of a roaring plane.
Harris’ defenders argue that these moments are overblown; that few people beyond the politically obsessive will remember the din of a press conference or whether she went to the border on her own volition or under duress.
“Vice President Harris is focused on the work, not the chatter at the water cooler,” Sanders said.
What’s more concerning for people inside and out of Harris’ orbit is staunching the bleeding among frustrated staff and meaningfully improving the low morale in the office, which could cause damage to her relationship with Biden and his team. Harris, these people said, excels when those around her project calm and order, creating a sense of confidence and certainty.
“When people feed her anxieties, all of that goes away,” said another Harris friend, “exacerbating the bad tendencies.”