The exit of a number of high-level staff from Vice President Kamal Harris’ office has drawn criticism to her management skills.

While White House staff turnover is usual, the exit of staff this early into the vice-presidency has been critiqued. Speaking out about their resignations, many staff members have pointed a finger at Harris and have gone to the extent of calling her a “bully”.

The exit of senior advisor and chief spokesperson Symone Sanders has brought complaints regarding Harris. Her exit followed that of communications director Ashley Etienne. There are also talks of the director of press operations Peter Velz and the deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs Vince Evans’ probable resignations.

Speaking to Washington Post, Harris’ former aide Gil Duran pointed a finger at the vice-president. She claimed that Harris was the “common denominator” that has forced the mass exit of staff. She pointed out that the vice-president has patterns that are destructive that often lead to her lashing out at the staff.

Another staff member claimed that the vice-president often ignored briefing material. Following which she lashed out at staff for her unpreparedness. The person claimed that Harris brought down people with constant criticism. They felt like they were having to support a “bully” due to her behavior.

Despite these claims against Harris, staff members have also spoken out in her defense.

While Sanders’ exit made Duran blame Harris, Sanders shared that Harris had nothing to do with her exit. She denied allegations that she was dissatisfied with the vice-president, Business Insider reported. She instead claimed that she was resigning as she felt that she had earned a break.

In 2016, she had been Bernie Sanders’ national press secretary. In 2020, she served as a senior advisor for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Thus, Sanders said that she felt that the years of political involvement and rigorous schedule had earned her the time off.

Sean Clegg, who worked with Harris during her San Francisco district attorney days in 2008, said that the vice-president was never unfair. He pointed out that Harris was often blunt with her approach that could have made some people “uncomfortable”. However, he feels that if Harris had been a man staff members would not have complained about her management, New York Post reported.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki also pointed out that staff exit was a common thing. She said that staff often leave their roles even after they have put their heart and soul into their work.

Kamala Harris
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks at the Louis Stokes Library on the campus of her alma mater Howard University on July 08, 2021 in Washington, DC. Organized by the Democratic National Committee, the event focused on voting rights. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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