A second high-level staffer is departing Vice President Kamala Harris‘ office amid reports of internal tensions and alleged frustration that President Joe Biden is not positioning her well for a presidential run.
Her announced departure follows that of Harris communications director Ashley Etienne, who is also leaving this month ‘to pursue other opportunities,’ according to the White House.
Harris in recent weeks has battled mounting reports that her office is in disarray, and that her team is frustrated at being handed ‘no-win’ tasks that don’t suit her skillset, such as tackling the ‘root causes’ of migration behind the recent border crisis.
Symone Sanders, Harris’ senior advisor and chief spokesperson, will leave the White House by the end of the this month, according to a new report
Harris in recent weeks has battled mounting reports that her office is in disarray, and that her team is frustrated at being handed ‘no-win’ tasks that don’t suit her skillset
Sanders traveled frequently with Harris and as a senior advisor helped her juggle a daunting portfolio including the migrant issue and push for a sweeping federal overhaul of election laws.
Harris has suffered plunging approval ratings since taking office, threatening what would normally be an easy path to the Democratic presidential nomination in 2028, or 2024 if Biden decides not to seek re-election at age 81.
Amid the turbulence, Sanders has been Harris’ top bulldog defender, batting back at claims of internal disarray and tension with the West Wing.
Last month, Sanders was the first to respond to a detailed CNN report in which Harris aides complained that she has been set up to fail, and handed a portfolio that is not commensurate with her historic status as the first woman, and first woman of color, to hold the vice president’s office.
‘They’re consistently sending her out there on losing issues in the wrong situations for her skill set,’ said a former high-level Harris aide in the bombshell report.
Sanders fired back in a statement: ‘It is unfortunate that after a productive trip to France in which we reaffirmed our relationship with America’s oldest ally and demonstrated U.S. leadership on the world stage, and following passage of a historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create jobs and strengthen our communities, some in the media are focused on gossip – not on the results that the President and the Vice President have delivered.’
Amid the turbulence, Sanders (right) has been Harris’ top bulldog defender, batting back at claims of internal disarray and tension with the West Wing
An official in the vice president’s office pointed out to Politico that Sanders, a former Biden campaign aide, had been working for the administration in some capacity for three years, and said that Biden and Harris had known of her departure ‘for a while’.
Etienne’s plan to leave was confirmed on November 18.
‘Ashley is valued member of the Vice President’s team, who has worked tirelessly to advance the goals of this administration. She is leaving the office in December to pursue other opportunities,’ a White House official told DailyMail.com at the time.
Both Harris and Biden have vehemently denied that there is any tension between them, denying reports that are mostly based on the accounts of anonymous staffers.
The White House went full throat with their defense of her after a CNN report claimed Biden was distancing himself from Harris because of her sliding poll numbers while the vice president felt isolated and frustrated with being given some of the most difficult issues for the administration in her portfolio.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted Harris is an ‘incredible leader’ and White House press secretary Jen Psaki argued Harris receives more criticism because of her status as a woman of color. Harris is the country’s first female and first black vice president.
Sanders’ announced departure follows that of Harris communications director Ashley Etienne (left and right), who is also leaving this month ‘to pursue other opportunities’
The president has publicly said he intends to run again. But there has been anonymous chatter among Democrats that, if he does, he should consider replacing Harris.
There’s additional speculation that if he doesn’t run again, Harris would not be the strongest contender to replace him. Some have suggested Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg would be a better candidate for the nomination.
A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll showed the transportation secretary with a higher favorability rating than both Biden and Harris – whom he led by 12 points.
It has led to rumors of a mounting feud between Buttigieg and Harris, which the two hope to quash with a joint appearance scheduled for Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina.