Vice President Kamala Harris’ staffers “feel treated like shit” and work in an “abusive environment,” according to a Wednesday Politico report.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” a staffer “with direct knowledge of how Harris’ office is run” 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—.”
The report indicates the “frustration internally is directed at Tina Flournoy,” Harris’ chief of staff, who has been in her position for about six months. White House staffers say Flournoy has a “reputation” for being “extreme” and for “refusing to delegate and second-guessing other staffers.”
Staffers also believe Flournoy “refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for the negative results that ensue.”
Flournoy is not the only target of the staffers’ ire, with them also telling Politico that Harris “bears responsibility for the way her office is run.”
“It all starts at the top,” said one staffer.
“In interviews, 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials and associates of Harris and Biden described a tense and at times dour office atmosphere,” Politico reported. “Aides and allies said Flournoy, in an apparent effort to protect Harris, has instead created an insular environment where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out.”
Harris’ senior advisor and chief spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, denied the claims and shifted the issue to race and sexism by saying Flournoy has an “open door policy”and that “Black women like me would not have the opportunity to work in politics without Tina.”
But the infighting has reportedly attracted the attention of “the president’s own team” and “are concerned about the way Harris’ staffers are treated,” noting two top staffers, Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFranceschi, have left Harris’ office.
The conflict seems to have escalated when former President Trump announced he would visit the border crisis, a responsibility Harris has fumbled after given the opportunity by President Joe Biden in March.
Politico reported “Harris finally decided to take the trip to El Paso,” but Harris’ “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 was closely held and there may be people whose feelings were a little hurt on her staff that they weren’t brought into the discussion,” Senior Adviser to the President Anita Dunn told Politico. “But any suggestion that it was mishandled or kept a secret from people who needed to know about the arrangements or needed to know about it is absolutely not true.”
But apparently, after the decision was made, “people inside her own office were blindsided by the news,” and many aides began “scrambling, including officials who were responsible for making travel arrangements and others outside the VP’s office charged with crafting the messaging across the administration.”
The chaos within Harris’ office are, as the outlet pointed out, “nothing new.”
Those who have worked for Harris in the past as a California senator say her office was “managed chaos.” “The boss’ expectations won’t always be predictable,” a former aide said.