On his first day as President of the United States of America, Joe Biden had said, “I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect or talk down to someone, I promise you, I will fire you on the spot — on the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts.” Biden promised to fire those who create a toxic work environment. If the President’s words carry any weight and he was half as serious about doing what he said he would do, Vice President Kamala Harris should have been fired by now.
President Joe Biden should have been leading an effort to get Kamala Harris impeached from office. Damning revelations have been made by over 22 staffers of Kamala Harris – both working with her currently as well as formerly associated with her office. The staffers are unanimous in their description of what it is like working for the Vice President. One of the staffers told Politico, “It all starts at the top. 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 sh*t.”
The explosive allegations – of staff being mistreated, abused and disregarded as valuable by Kamala Harris and her chief of staff have led to an image crisis like no other for the Biden administration in its five months in office. The environment has become so unsuitable that after just five months on the job, many staffers have sought employment elsewhere. Recently, two top staffers Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFranceschi left Harris’s office.
Those trying to protect Harris and her chief of staff – Tina Flournoy, said the departures were expected and had nothing to do with the work culture of the Vice President’s office, while those familiar with the realities told Politico that DeFranceschi, the deputy director of advance, left because of a difference of opinion in how things should run. The source said, “If you have an opinion about how things should run and it’s not listened to, that can be frustrating.”
On expected lines, Harris’ supporters from within the White House and elsewhere have said that the toxic work environment is only perceptional in nature, due to the fact that those being accused of mistreating, abusing and denigrating staffers are people of colour and ‘Black women’. Politico reported, however, that for some of the people who know Harris best, it’s become an all-too-familiar pattern.
Apart from the daily chaos of working with abusive bosses, Harris’ staffers say they are being kept out of the loop on critical decisions being made by the Vice President and her chief of staff. Most recently, Kamala Harris’ announcement that she would visit the southern border at El Paso has riled up her staff, who are of the opinion that the visit should not have been announced right now.
The Politico report said Harris’ team is experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust among aides and senior officials. Those interviewed by the publication said that at the behest of Veep’s chief of staff, Harris is surrounded by an insular environment where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out. Tina Flournoy, they said, refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for the negative results that ensue.
There is no doubt that Kamala Harris is to blame for allowing such an environment to flourish. In what should also concern the Democratic party as a whole, Kamala Harris is ignoring major donors – who have contributed millions in donations to the blue party.
Recently, a friend of the Vice President personally reached out to Flournoy on behalf of one of the party’s top donors to try to arrange a brief meeting. They were ignored. The donor also contacted Harris’ office personally to connect and didn’t hear back for weeks. They were eventually told the VP was too busy to schedule some time.
Kamala Harris and her top aides’ behaviour is concerning President Joe Biden and his team, the report said. Meanwhile, the sudden departure of Harris’ advance in-charges has led to her office floundering for volunteers or even associates who can fly down to El Paso and make preparations for the Vice President’s visit. Maybe, if she had treated her former employees with respect, she would not be forced to desperately search for people who would help her travel to the south.
Kamala Harris is taking up difficult tasks. In fact, she is being handed over jobs, which are impossible to fulfil by her standards. Evidently, her failure to get the job done – whether it be with the voting rights bills or the southern border crisis is taking a toll on her ability to lead the Vice President’s office maturely, and in an environment where her workers are not disrespected.