Vice President Kamala Harris’ office is experiencing infighting, as aides and those close to Harris say she “needed someone who is a task-master” to manage her office, such as chief of staff Tina Flournoy.
“It’s a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her,” Biden’s senior adviser Cedric Richmond said, acknowledging to the Hill the infighting is real.
“Let’s be real for a second: Kamala needed someone who is a task-master,” one strategist close to Harris 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.”
“It would not be the first time that the sheer amount of focus principal management required of a chief of staff has detracted from the staff management side,” the operative continued. “She almost needs two (chiefs of staff) because the skill set required to handle her is very different from that required of managing and empowering a big staff.”
“I think overall it’s worked okay because Kamala is the sort of person who would fix things if it’s not working to her liking,” another source told the Hill. “But clearly something isn’t working well.”
The hits against the vice president’s office keep coming.
On Wednesday, a staffer told Politico that Harris’ aides “are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment.”
“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 staffer went on.
Friday, Axios revealed that Harris’ aides are panicking that 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 White House aides say Harris’ office is “shitshow” 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.”
The conflict seems to have climaxed before and during Harris’ trip to the southern 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.
Politico reported Wednesday 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.”
Many Establishment Democrats have since come to Harris and Flournoy’s defense.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Axios: “The President’s trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together.”
Former President Bill Clinton told CNBC Wednesday he is confident in Harris’ chief of staff:
Tina Flournoy ran my office for more than eight years, making it more efficient, effective, and transparent. She made it easier, not harder, for me to advance my philanthropic work and my post-presidential activities, and keep in touch with my friends
She has a unique ability to focus on the big picture and adapt to changing conditions. And she does it all with a great sense of humor and an unwavering belief that we all have an ability and an obligation to make a difference. She’s an extraordinary person, and I’m so fortunate and forever grateful to have had her as my chief of staff.
Clinton’s spokesman, Matt McKenna, who worked with Flournoy, also praised her for “helping create a much-needed structure for Clinton’s office.”
Ex-Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri tweeted, “Chiefs of staff gotta run interference. Doesn’t always make you popular. But it’s part of the job. Protect the boss’ time.”