Kamala Harris' Office Is Focus of Scathing Report

Politico paints picture of dysfunctional operation under Harris and top aide Tina Flournoy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2021 5:15 PM CDT
Kamala Harris' Office Is Focus of Scathing Report
A file photo of Tina Flournoy, chief of staff for VP Kamala Harris.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Kamala Harris is getting some seriously bad press this week, but it's not so much because of politics as the way staffers and longtime confidants say they're being treated. The more damning report comes from Politico, which describes a "chaotic" operation. "Harris' team is experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication, and diminished trust among aides and senior officials," per the story. The bulk of the blame is placed on chief of staff Tina Flournoy, a longtime Democratic operative, though Harris herself also takes her fair share. The story relies on interviews with 22 current and former VP aides, administration officials, and other associates who say that Flournoy, in an attempt to protect Harris, has created an environment in which suggestions are ignored or harshly dismissed, and decisions get bogged down.

A key quote, from an anonymous insider: "People 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---." Another report at CNBC says Flournoy has been cutting off longtime donors' personal access to Harris, causing much frustration within that camp. On the flip side of all this are defenders of Harris and Flournoy who say that women in power—particularly Black women in power like them—are often held to different, unfair standards. Harris spokesperson Symone Sanders rejects the negative portrayal. "We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day," she says. "What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I'm like, 'welcome to the club.'" (Read more Kamala Harris stories.)

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