Kamala waving SOS: more aides planning to jump ship

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The report comes days after it was announced Harris’ senior adviser Symone Sanders will leave her job at the end of the year. More key members working in Vice President Kamala Harris’ office are reportedly “eyeing the exits” after many staffers called it quits in recent weeks.


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It was announced last week that Harris’ senior adviser Symone Sanders will leave her post by the end of the year, and according to people familiar with conversations on resignations, ‘key members of Harris’ orbit are leaving, and even more, are eyeing the exits.”

The report comes after Harris’ communications director Ashley Etienne resigned ahead of Thanksgiving, and two other communication aides are reportedly planning to leave their pots soon.

Less than a year after assembling a primarily new team to help settle her into the vice presidency, critical members of Harris’ orbit are leaving, and even more are eyeing the exits.

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One recent poll shows her approval rating at 28%, while she had a 46% approval upon taking office.

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Fox contributor Joe Concha put in his opinion on Saturday, “ I guess when your boss’ approval rating is at 28%, and she’s polling even lower on her number one job, the U.S. southern border where migrants continue to flow over, two million passing over this year. I guess I would leave too because this is a sinking ship.”

Reports have also swirled for months about the toxicity of Harris’ office.

“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses, and it’s an abusive environment,” one person with direct knowledge of how Harris’ office is run stated. “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—.”

This is not a new occurrence; with former staffers stating, “It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody willing to do the prep and the work,” one former staffer stated, “With Kamala, you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully, and it’s not clear why.”

“One of the things we’ve said in our little text groups among each other is what is the common denominator through all this, and it’s her.”

The White House has continued to downplay the departures as best as they can, with Biden press secretary, Jen Psaki, saying it’s “natural” for staffers to be ready to “move on.”

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

Democratic allies are meanwhile pushing Harris to embrace the turnover as a reset.

“Every opportunity that you get in politics to renew and repurpose is a good opportunity,” Democratic strategist Donna Brazile told the outlet. “In every stage of [Harris’] life, there were people she could bring with her, and then there were people that she had to pick up along the way because of the new responsibilities. And I think that this is an opportunity she’s done with throughout her career to find people who can take their seats at the table because guess what? There’s something new on the menu.”

Harris sidestepped questions about the staff turnover and potential for a reset when asked about it by POLITICO, and her office declined to comment. Behind the scenes, advisers have spent weeks researching possible replacements for essential posts and feeling out others who passed on roles in the office earlier this year to see if they would be more amenable to joining in a second round.

Currently, four staffers have announced their departures from the VP’s office in recent weeks. They include the high-profile exit by one of Harris’ closest aides, Symone Sanders, who serves as senior adviser and chief spokesperson, as well as Ashley Etienne, the office’s communication director. Officials maintain those departures were long-planned and not evidence of the turmoil.

But the four staffers are part of a wave that could grow larger at a fast rate as staff inside the vice president’s office review other opportunities. According to people familiar with those conversations, more aides in Harris’ office have expressed interest in leaving.

The shakeup among Harris’ staff has led to speculation about how she and her top aides have managed the office, as well as her capacity as a boss. 

 A longtime Harris confidant made closing remarks, stating, “If she’s not allowed to select her people or have a lot of say in picking her people, she’s f—ed.”

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