Psaki pulls straws to defend Harris’ office amid increasing departures

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Symone Sanders, a top Kamala Harris adviser, resigned amid signs of VP office disarray


Facts

Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Vice President Harris and her chief spokesperson, will depart at the end of the year, signifying growing turmoil within the office.

Sanders is the second top Harris aide to announce her departure in less than a month. It emerged that Harris Communications Director Ashley Etienne had resigned just two weeks ago. Harris has been plagued by poor approval ratings and questions from Republican critics about her competence.

Symone had served for three years, first as a member of the President’s 2020 presidential campaign, then as a member of his transition team, and now deputy assistant to the President and senior advisor/chief spokesperson to the Vice President.

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In 2014, Symone was hired by progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as the national press secretary for his 2016 presidential campaign. Sanders had also served as the chair of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice Emerging Leaders Committee and as a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice. She advocated for social and racial justice and highlighted economic inequality.

Details

When Psaki was asked about the high-profile departures and rumors of other potential Harris staffers weighing resignations, Psaki said past precedent shows White House staffers making external moves after some time working in an administration or on a campaign. 

“Working on a presidential campaign… and working in the first year of a White House is exciting and rewarding, but is also grueling and exhausting,” Psaki said. “It’s all of those things at once.”

It probably doesn’t help either when you are led by a VP who is as bad at her job as Kamala.

To continue to save face for the continued resignations, “Many of the team members you’re referencing, I would just note, that there has been an announcement about Symone Sanders departing, but there haven’t been official announcements about the others,” Psaki said.

Psaki also noted that it is an “opportunity” for any White House “to bring in new faces, new voices, new perspectives” and said the vice president’s office would make announcements on that “in due time.”

Psaki also rejected the suggestion that the departures, specifically Sanders’, were due to negative coverage of the vice president. Last month, a USA Today poll put Harris at a 28% approval rating.

In November, CNN reported that around three dozen sources, including some on the vice president’s staff, Harris felt constrained and sidelined over the first ten months of the new administration, while she has also suffered several apparent communications blunders. Strengthening the reason for the exodus for Harris’ staff for an unfit leader.

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