White House press secretary Jen Psaki came to the defense of an aide to first lady Jill Biden after an anonymous source claimed he was abusive towards his colleagues and had a “mean streak.”
“First, I would say that I’ve worked with now, over the last six months, even as a newbie into the Biden orbit, with the individual named by an anonymous source,” Psaki deflected concerning adviser Anthony Bernal who is sometimes referred to as Jill Biden’s “enforcer.”
“He’s been nothing but supportive and communicative, and that’s been my experience,” she added.
“You know, it’s hard to look into anonymously sourced reports. I’m not aware of that being the intention,” Psaki told reporters at her daily press briefing when asked by New York Times reporter Katie Rogers about Bernal’s alleged abuse.
Politico published a report on Monday asserting that literally dozens of staffers of “Team Jill” who had worked alongside Bernal had described him as being “toxic” and that he berated colleagues and “talked trash” behind their backs. Staffers went so far as to compare Biden’s aide to Meryl Streep’s character in the 2006 film, “The Devil Wears Prada.” Others compared him to Littlefinger in “Game of Thrones.”
(Video Credit: C-SPAN)
Julissa Reynoso, Jill Biden’s chief of staff, sang a drastically different tune concerning Bernal.
“Anthony’s loyalty to our team and the First Family is unrivaled, and he holds himself, and all of us, to the highest standards,” she remarked to Politico. “There is no one at the White House with a bigger heart than Anthony, which is one of several reasons why so many in the First Lady’s office have worked with him for years. He cares deeply about the personal and professional growth of his colleagues.”
Others within Biden’s inner circle claim it is an open secret that he makes staffers cry. Some staffers claimed that Bernal calls his colleagues “stupid” in meetings or when he’s on calls with them. A number of his colleagues began recording his interactions during the 2020 campaign because they were so alarming.
“He has a constituency of one, and he’s very effective on her behalf,” one person told Politico. “The problem is that no one who has worked with him trusts him, and that’s not good for him or her.”
Conflicting opinions are coming from some White House officials who describe Bernal as “warm,” “generous,” and “brilliant.” They did state, however, that “Anthony is as quick with a compliment as he is with a critique.” A former White House official who has worked with Bernal and considers him a friend described him as “the most loyal staffer I’ve ever seen.” But he also noted, “Even if you’re his friend, you know he’ll talk sh*t about you.”
A longtime Democratic operative named Patti Solis Doyle sang his praises as well, saying, “Anthony is exceptional and extremely loyal to Dr. Biden and the entire Biden family.”
Bernal, who was at one time a scheduling staffer in former Vice President Al Gore’s office, has been referred to as a polarising figure in the White House.
President Biden has previously vowed to fire aides “on the spot” if he hears that they “treat another colleague with disrespect or talk down to someone.” So far, he has not kept that promise and it doesn’t appear that will change during his tenure.
Psaki was mocked for doubting an “anonymous source” after the way former President Trump was abused, and for dodging the question about the aide in the first place:
Sounds like Harris is slinging mud at Biden to deflect from her piss-poor staff MJa management. Or it’s all true, and they all suck.
— Jewhadi™ (@JewhadiTM) August 4, 2021
Like they would ever admit a “mean girl” was in the White House
— Doctor Infrastructure (@Fauxgourmet1974) August 4, 2021
Just Dems doing more democratty stuff
— Otto Fad (@truth4real) August 4, 2021
It’s amazing that this Psaki woman can live with herself.
— Rick Graham (@Rick2712Graham) August 3, 2021
She’ll have to circle back?
— CheeseWheel (@CheeseWheel21) August 3, 2021
— Me~Shell (@Matbelsmemaw) August 3, 2021
Dodge and Spin. that is Psaki.
— Kevin Manso (@KevinManso7) August 4, 2021
When it’s an anonymously sourced story about their opponents, they will heap on everything they can to make it real, or make it a point to divide people. But when it’s one of their own, nothing to see here.
— JayCol (@JayCol15) August 3, 2021
“You know, it’s hard to look into anonymously sourced reports.”
— DOUG JONES (@DOUG___JONES) August 3, 2021
LOL every accusation against trump was an anonymous source
— Joe Mama (@josephspano7) August 3, 2021
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