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Staff members and aides for Vice President Kamala Harris are reportedly being “treated like s–t.” Speaking with Politico this week, several current and former aides and administration officials described the Office of the Vice President as an “abusive” hellhole.
“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–t,” one source said.
This treatment has left staffers and aides “experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust,” according to Politico.
A large part of the blame, sources said, goes to Harris’s chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, whom aides described as an overbearing woman who doesn’t tolerate dissenting ideas, who blames everybody else but herself when things go badly, and who tries to keep the VP sheltered from reality.
“Aides and allies said Flournoy, in an apparent effort to protect Harris, has instead created an insular environment where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out. Often, they said, she refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for the negative results that ensue,” Politico reported.
According to a separate report from CNBC, even the vice president’s “longtime political and business world allies” have been shut out.
“[A]s Flournoy, who built a tough reputation while working for former President Bill Clinton, exerts her power as a gatekeeper to the vice president, several of Harris’ allies outside the federal government are struggling to get their calls returned after years of regularly being in touch with her, some of these people said,” CNBC reported.
“A person familiar with Flournoy’s handling of incoming communication with these associates says she sometimes starts a conversation asking, ‘What is it that you want from the vice president?’ If the person wants to just say hello and have a brief conversation, Flournoy says that time will come at future private events.”
Part of the problem appears to be that everybody is scared to stand up to her. The reason why may be because she’s a black woman — and these days it’s a social sin to say anything negative (even if truthful) about black women.
Note for instance the furious indignation that erupted from “journalists,” pundits, and activists in response to Politico’s reporting:
Shoutout to the one and only talented, experienced, and sagacious VP Chief of Staff, Tina Flournoy, for protecting Kamala Harris and running a necessarily tight ship, despite reports. ✊🏾✊🏾 #BlackWomenLead pic.twitter.com/5mDSmDstYs
— Madam Vice President Harris is GOAT! (@flywithkamala) June 30, 2021
Hm. Sounds like what’s happening here is that Tina Flournoy is doing her job. Chiefs of staff gotta run interference.
Doesn’t always make you popular. But it’s part of the job. Protect the boss’ time. https://t.co/9uRG5fLLxA
— Jennifer Palmieri (@jmpalmieri) June 29, 2021
Tina Flournoy is a great Chief of Staff. Her job is literally to protect and insulate the @VP.
It’s so frustrating when ppl no longer in her orbit & those positioning for 2024 plant stories, bc you know Politico will run a messy Kamala story in a min.
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) June 30, 2021
Tina Flournoy is indefatigable. She is a strategic thinker, thoughtful leader, and outstanding Chief of Staff — one of the toughest jobs in politics. Vice President Harris is fortunate to have her on the team and no anonymous quotes will change that.
— Guy Cecil (@guycecil) June 30, 2021
Sooo it seems that it’s been unveiled today that drumroll….. #TinaFlournoy is doing her job. Umm there is no story..she is doing what she is supposed to do to protect and serve .@VP. Okay people..please stop creating these double standards for Black women doing their jobs.
— Jotaka Eaddy (@JotakaEaddy) July 1, 2021
In its report, Politico noted how Flournoy’s defenders have themselves played the race card to defend her.
“Harris and Flournoy’s defenders … note that women in power—Black women in particular—are subjected to standards that men often don’t have to clear. A tough and demanding office environment may be seen as a virtue for one and a sign of disorder and lack of leadership acumen for another,” the outlet reported.
As an intellectual exercise, imagine if President Joe Biden and his chief of staff, Ron Klain, who’s white, were reported by Politico to be mistreating their employees, some of whom are black. How do you suppose the same critics would respond? #FoodForThought.
Meanwhile, in reality, the use of the race card by Flournoy’s defenders hasn’t been enough to prevent aides and staffers from jumping ship.
“But for some of the people who know Harris best, it’s become an all-too-familiar pattern for a politician who has churned through several iterations of staff on her rise and took office with a team almost entirely new to her,” according to Politico.
“Just six months in, some of those aides in the Office of the Vice President said they are eyeing other employment opportunities. Others have left already. In recent days, two top advance staffers, Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFranceschi, parted ways with Harris in what they and Harris officials said were long-planned departures, a point disputed by two other people familiar with the matter,” the outlet added.
Note what Politico wrote about “an all-too-familiar pattern,” as if working for Harris has always meant being “treated like s–t.”
To some, these bombshells are no surprise. After all, then-Sen. Harris’s treatment of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had spoken volumes.
All you needed to see to know what Kamala Harris is made of was to listen to her vicious attacks on Judge Kavanaugh.
— KMarie 🇺🇸🌴☀ (@Informalib) June 30, 2021
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