Kamala Harris Has History of ‘Mistreatment of Employees and Dissent’ as White House Infighting and Sabotage Ensue

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) waits to speak at a Democratic presidential forum on Latino issues at Cal State LA on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. The presidential primary in California will be held on March 3, 2020. (Photo by …
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris’s history of “mistreatment of employees and dissent” before entering the White House is spilling over Friday, as infighting and sabotage are impacting the office of the Vice President.

“As the wheels came off the then-California senator’s primary run,” the New York Post wrote, “stories of mistreatment of employees and dissent in the ranks began bubbling up before eventually spilling into public view.”

During Harris’s Democrat primary run, the Harris campaign’s state operations director Kelly Mehlenbacher resigned and wrote a letter containing “a blistering account of mismanagement that had culminated in major staff layoffs days earlier” in 2019.

“This is my third presidential campaign,” wrote Mehlenbacher, “and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly.”

“With less than 90 days until Iowa we still do not have a real plan to win,” Mehlenbacher added.

Mehlenbacher’s comments are coming back to haunt the White House, as Biden’s senior adviser Cedric Richmond acknowledged to the Hill Friday the infighting is real.

“It’s a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her [Harris],” Richmond admitted.

“Let’s be real for a second: Kamala needed someone who is a task-master,” one strategist close to Harris also told the Hill. “One of the knocks on Harris and her universe is that they’ve always been undisciplined so it’s not surprising that they brought in someone who is a task-master, someone who could create a standard and isn’t afraid to tell the boss what’s up.”

Axios quotes a Democratic operative who declares she is “fucking up” and perhaps “shouldn’t be the heir apparent” for 2024’s presidential race, because she “could not defeat whomever the Republican Party puts up.”

Other staffers in the Biden administration told Axios Harris’s office is a “shitshow.” The outlet describes it as filled with “poorly-managed… people who don’t have long-term relationships with her,” an overall “operation sometimes visibly out of sync with Biden’s.”

“2024 is the elephant in the room,” Axios reported. “While Biden aides overwhelmingly believe he’ll be the Democratic nominee, they also know he’d be 81 when seeking re-election.”

But “many Democrats, including some current senior administration officials, are concerned she [Harris] could not defeat whomever the Republican Party puts up — even if it were Donald Trump.”

Aides “are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” a staffer told Politico Wednesday. “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 conflict seems to have climaxed before and during Harris’s trip to the border, when Harris committed “missteps during a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, including an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt,” when she said she had not visited the southern border crisis and that she has not toured Europe either.

The Wednesday report also stipulates that after the decision was made to for Harris to travel to the border, “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.”

Since news of infighting has leaked out into the open, establishment Democrats have come out and defended Harris’s office, such as former President Bill Clinton, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Clinton’s spokesman Matt McKenna, Ex-Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri, and Harris’s senior adviser Symone Sanders.

“There’s not consternation among aides. That is not true. … I hear that there are critics. Those who talk often do not know and those who know usually are not the ones talking,” Sanders told Axios.

Editor’s Note: The text of this article has been updated to clarify attributions in Friday’s Axios article.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.