Inside Kamala Harris' chaotic office that's rife with in-fighting as top aide leaves after claims VP was 'sidelined'
THE office of vice president Kamala Harris has been plagued with reports of dysfunction and infighting, as one of her top aides has resigned amid the rumors.
Ashley Etienne, a veteran from the Obama administration, resigned as Harris' communications director earlier this week, adding fuel to the fire.
While the official statement said Etienne is leaving Harris' team to pursue "other opportunities," several sources have told CNN that Etienne's exit was a "long time coming."
Etienne was "not a good fit" for the VP's office, they said, and had not done enough to counter the negative press Harris has been facing.
According to sources who spoke with CNN, Harris' staff have "repeatedly failed her and left her exposed" as she deals with criticism that they say is in part fueled by racism and sexism.
But two sources said that some people who work in the VP's office are frustrated with what they see as a dysfunctional environment that has at times led to internal conflict.
Several of the reported complaints about Harris' office involved her chief of staff Tina Flournoy.
Staff members that spoke to the outlet accused Flournoy of creating an “insular environment” where potential ideas are dismissed and officials delay making decisions.
Members of the staff were also reportedly blindsided by Harris' sudden decision to visit the US-Mexico border in June.
Meanwhile, several members of Harris' staff have reportedly been reaching out to contacts as they plan their exit from the troubled office, which is riddled with tension between Harris and Biden aides.
According to various outlets including CNN, Harris' aides feel the VP is being sidelined and not well-positioned by the White House.
Harris, they claim, is being set to fail by the West Wing as the VP is put in charge of complex issues such as voting rights and the crisis at the border.
The VP herself has allegedly told her inner circle that she feels "constrained" in her role.
Reports say that Biden’s team is “highly attuned to signs of disloyalty," which makes it hard for Harris and her staff to demand more leadership in the administration.
Other reports have claimed there is a bitter feud between first lady Jill Biden and the VP.
The bickering relationship has been described as being “caught in a catfight” and tensions supposedly increased before the first lady and VP stepped into their official roles.
The first lady allegedly became very upset with Harris' comments against her husband during the first Democratic presidential debate, when Harris called out Biden for working with segregationists.
A Politico Magazine article quoted Jill as saying: “With what he cares about, what he fights for, what’s committed to, you get up there and call him a racist without basis? Go f*** yourself,”
She was later confronted about the remark and gave Harris a hug on camera saying: “That was two years ago. We’ve moved on from that.”
The White House went into damage control earlier this week, when press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement in support of Harris.
"For anyone who needs to hear it. @VP is not only a vital partner to @POTUS but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country—from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband," Psaki said on Twitter.
As part of the administration's damage control, Harris appeared on Good Morning America on Thursday.
When asked if she felt “misused or underused” by the White House, Harris denied it.
“I don’t. I’m very, very excited about the work that we have accomplished. But I am also absolutely, absolutely clear-eyed that there is a lot more to do, and we’re gonna get it done," said Harris.
Vanity Fair has also reported infighting in Harris' office surrounding questions on whether her visibility in the Biden administration should be increased.
O USA Today/Suffolk University poll published this month showed Harris' approval ratings slipping.
The President's ratings dropped at 38 percent while the Vice President's is lower at 28 percent.
The Sun reached the White House for comment but had not heard back by the time of publication.
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