Future Empress Incompetence Shocking Even by White House Standards
Was Biden's plan all along to get a train-wreck VP so he could get DNC backing for another run in 2024 for himself?
Top White House officials are publicly circling the wagons around Vice President Kamala Harris’ operation while privately calling the chaos in her office as a “s—show,” Axios reports.
Long-simmering unhappiness in Harris’ office and tensions between her staff and President Joe Biden’s boiled over in a recent report from Politico. The outlet spoke with 22 sources, including current and former Harris staffers, who described poor morale and communication breakdowns within the vice president’s office.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” one source told Politico. “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—.”
Some key aides and staffers were left completely in the dark when it came to the planning of Harris’ trip to the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, Politico reported. Two advance staffers also recently departed from Harris’ office.
Politico and CNBC also reported on complaints about how Harris’ chief of staff, the seasoned Democratic power player Tina Flournoy, tightly guards access to Harris, including not returning calls and attempts at outreach from Harris’ longtime political allies, friends, and donors.
“We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day. What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I’m like ‘welcome to the club,'” Harris’ chief spokeswoman Symone Sanders told Politico in response, defending Flournoy as having “an open door policy” and calling her anonymous critics “cowards.”
Former President Bill Clinton stepped in with a statement to CNBC backing up Flournoy as “an extraordinary person” with “a unique ability to focus on the big picture and adapt to changing conditions.” Flournoy was known to closely guard access to Clinton during her time as his chief of staff in his post-presidential life, which some Democrats acknowledge is a necessary aspect of staffing a figure like a president or vice president.
Both White House Chief of staff Ron Klain and White House senior advisor Cedric Richmond also went on record to defend Harris and her office operation to Axios, with Richmond charging that Harris is the victim of “a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.”
The discord being reported out of Harris’ office highlights the sharp divergence between the VP’s office and the nearly leak-proof operation that Biden runs.
The reported dysfunction within her operation and Flournoy’s iron grip over Harris’ political operation echoes some of the breakdowns that befell her 2020 presidential campaign. Per Axios, it’s causing some Democrats to question whether Harris could run a successful presidential campaign in 2024 if Biden, who is 78, decides to retire.
As the sitting vice president, Harris would be Biden’s natural successor. But Axios reports that some Democrats both within and outside the White House “are increasingly concerned about Harris’s handling of high-profile issues and political tone deafness,” including her missteps around immigration.
“‘Oh, no, our heir apparent is f***ing up, what are we gonna do?’ It’s more that people think, ‘Oh, she’s f***ing up, maybe she shouldn’t be the heir apparent,'” one Democratic source told Axios.
Source: Business Insider
Top White House officials are mobilizing to defend Vice President Kamala Harris amid a gusher of leaks about dysfunction and infighting in her office.
Driving the news: White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told Axios in a statement: “The President’s trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together.” Biden senior adviser Cedric Richmond said in an interview late Thursday night: “It’s a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.”
Details: Their responses came after Axios approached the White House with new reporting about growing tensions between West Wing officials and the Harris team, including chief of staff Tina Flournoy.
- Some White House officials have been frustrated by a series of missteps from Harris and increasingly public bickering in her orbit, which spilled out in a Politico story on Wednesday. Flournoy’s old boss, former President Bill Clinton, came to her defense with a statement calling her “an extraordinary person.”
Why it matters: 2024 is the elephant in the room. While Biden aides overwhelmingly believe he’ll be the Democratic nominee, they also know he’d be 81 when seeking re-election.
- An operation sometimes visibly out of sync with Biden’s — and missteps during a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, following a scrutinized interview with NBC’s Lester Holt — have reignited questions from Harris’ 2020 primary bid.
- Harris would be the presumptive nominee if Biden didn’t run. Administration sources believe it would be nearly impossible to unseat the first Black woman vice president.
Yet many Democrats, including some current senior administration officials, are concerned she could not defeat whomever the Republican Party puts up — even if it were Donald Trump.
- One Democratic operative tells Axios’ Alayna Treene that most Democrats aren’t saying, “‘Oh, no, our heir apparent is f***ing up, what are we gonna do?’ It’s more that people think, ‘Oh, she’s f***ing up, maybe she shouldn’t be the heir apparent.'”
- Some Democrats close to the White House are increasingly concerned about Harris’s handling of high-profile issues and political tone deafness, and question her ability to maintain the coalition that Biden rode to the White House, sources tell Axios’ Hans Nichols.
What we’re hearing: Relations between the West Wing and the Vice President’s office are tense.
- Several administration officials used “shitshow” when describing Harris’ office, and contrast her operation with disciplined, virtually leakproof Biden aides. [LOL. So they will only ever leak to undermine Harris which they have a huge incentive to?]
- Some Biden officials view the Harris operation as poorly-managed and staffed with people who don’t have long-term relationships with her. They feel she’s gotten bad advice from her press and communications shop and think it’s telling that she’s already lost two advance aides and a digital director.
Case in point: A few months ago, what should have been a no-brainer of a press request came to the vice president’s office. Forbes wanted to feature Harris on the cover of its “50 Over 50” issue — saluting her rise to be the “first woman, the first Black person, and the first South Asian-American to become U.S. vice president.”
- After concluding that Flournoy had been sitting on the request — a characterization that an aide to the V.P. flatly disputes, explaining that she was simply nailing down details before sharing it with a larger White House circle — ultimately the West Wing intervened to get an answer for Forbes.
- The vice president ended up participating — and getting glowing treatment. But Biden advisers couldn’t understand why it had to be this hard, people familiar with the incident tell Axios.