The mayhem within Harris’ ranks was first detailed in a report by Politico, which also unraveled long-simmering tensions between the VP’s staff and President Biden’s.
For the second time this week, a major national news outlet released a report on drama in Vice President Kamala Harris’s office.
Unlike Tuesday’s CNBC story, which was mostly based on gripes from donors about not keeping their preferred level of access to Harris now that she’s vice president, Wednesday’s Politico report — headlined “‘Not a healthy environment’: Kamala Harris’ office rife with dissent”— seems to be a bigger deal for the administration.
The report, which conducted interviews with 22 “current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials and associates of Harris and Biden,” alleges that the vice president’s office is an “abusive environment” where “people are thrown under the bus from the very top.”
Kamala Harris is ‘f**king up and shouldn’t run for president,’ Dem says as VP’s office is branded a ‘s**tshow’
One source told Axios that most Democrats aren’t saying, “‘Oh, no, our heir apparent is f***ing up, what are we gonna do?'”
“‘It’s more that people think, ‘Oh, she’s f***ing up, maybe she shouldn’t be the heir apparent,'” the source said.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” one source told Politico. “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.”
Some key aides and staffers were left in the dark when it came to the planning of Harris’ trip to the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, Politico reported. Two advance staffers also recently departed from Harris’ office.
Politico and CNBC also reported on complaints that Harris’ chief of staff, the seasoned Democratic power player Tina Flournoy, tightly guarded access to Harris, including not returning calls and outreach attempts from Harris’ longtime political allies, friends, and donors.
“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,'” Harris’ chief spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, told Politico in response, defending Flournoy as having “an open door policy” and calling her anonymous critics “cowards.”
In a statement to CNBC, former President Bill Clinton described Flournoy as “an extraordinary person” with “a unique ability to focus on the big picture and adapt to changing conditions.” Flournoy was known to closely guard access to Clinton as his chief of staff in his postpresidential life; some Democrats have said that’s a necessary aspect of staffing a figure like a president or vice president.