Being a political operative is not easy. There are backroom double-dealings, living under a microscope, enemies around every corner, and to top it all off, the public tends to make fun of every staffer’s hair and attire. It’s a grueling but sometimes rewarding career choice – until you say yes to Vice President Kamala Harris. At least that’s what top aides appear to be saying as they flee the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. With the recent resignation of deputy chief of staff Michael Fuchs, eleven notable employees have so far bailed on the controversial Kamala. The exodus is leaving the VP all alone at the lunch table.
What was once excitedly rumored throughout the Swamp – that the vice president, a woman of color, was being groomed for a 2024 presidential run – has all but faded to a deafening silence. There doesn’t seem to be an ally of any substance left to protect Harris.
Angry Political Professionals Blabber – A Lot
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses, and it’s an abusive environment,” one anonymous Harris staffer told Politico. Another former employee explained: “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—.”
The pressure of any job with a boss rumored to be heavy-handed, unprepared, or who practices point and blame might drive the faint-of-heart researcher or IT person out into the mean streets for comfort. Some folks just can’t handle it. But when the hardened top-ops leave, that speaks volumes.
Case in point: Does anyone want to know who was in charge of prepping Harris about the Russian invasion of Ukraine? The somewhat obviously unprepared VP – we all hope – shared her knowledge of the situation during a radio talk show, saying, “Ukraine is a country in Europe. It exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine, so, basically, that’s wrong.” Hell, I’d fire myself if Harris ignored my briefing paper on problems in Eastern Europe and pulled that stunt.
In the last 14 months or so, the people in charge of protecting and cultivating a presidential image have methodically snuck out the back door right along with the deputy chief of staff.
- Spokesperson Symone Sanders
- Lead speechwriter Kate Childs Graham
- Communications chief Ashley Etienne
- Director of Advance Karly Satkowiak and her deputy, Gabrielle DeFranceschi
- Director of Digital Strategies Rajan Kaur
- Director of Press Operations Peter Velz
- Deputy Director of Public Engagement Vincent Evans
These professionals have been through sticky situations with a variety of candidates and elected officials, and they usually do not run. They sure don’t leave when they are about to make history with the first woman president. Only they did – and they aren’t the only people giving the VP a wide berth.
Where Did They Go?
Last summer, after several staffers bailed on the number two, lady Democratic movers and shakers attempted a makeover of sorts at a dinner hosted by Kiki McLean. Any female Dem candidate would be wise to accept the offer (more like demand) from the top strategist and political public relations maven on the eastern seaboard. McLean can fix almost any PR nightmare. She even had a new style for Bill Clinton – an acceptable style – after the nation exploded over the president’s shenanigans. Kiki also came real close to softening Hillary enough to win in 2016.
It seems the lesson didn’t take, and now Kiki has left the building.
It was only a few months ago that Harris announced Hillary Clinton as her new go-to girl. Harris was in charge of the border crisis and needed some prep on strategy. The media, of course, drooled over the two powerful females working in concert. Fast forward a bit and now it’s Kamala Harris: Party of One. It’s a sad state of affairs when the most hated woman in politics has more friends than the current vice president.
What Will They Do?
Electing Joe Biden – an old white guy who gets lost on his front lawn – was simply a vehicle to transport the first woman into the White House. But who knew Harris was less trainable than a two-year-old at Walmart in the throes of a sugar high? The woman in waiting is a disaster that Democrats must soon rectify. Will they hold their tongues, pray for divine intervention, and beg the media to help put her in the Oval Office – or find someone else?