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Does Kamala Harris run a 'toxic' workplace? VP’s office allegedly treats staff ‘like s**t'

'People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it's an abusive environment,' a source said
US Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks via video link to the Generation Equality Forum on June 30, 2021, in Washington, DC (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks via video link to the Generation Equality Forum on June 30, 2021, in Washington, DC (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The office of Kamala Harris is reportedly facing accusations of toxic work culture as there are allegations that the staff members are “treated like sh**”. It has also been said that Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy fails to take responsibility for critical issues and is prompt in playing blame games when things go wrong, as per a Politico report that interviewed 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials, and associates of Harris and President Joe Biden.

According to the report, the atmosphere at the vice president’s office began to become restless after Harris decided to visit the border last week, but without informing her staff members. This resulted in accusations of low morale and trust, and bad communication. Besides, the sources alleged that Flournoy, apparently to protect Harris, has created an environment where others' ideas are not given importance or criticized very rudely. Though most of the accusations are against Flournoy, two of the sources believe Harris is equally responsible. “It all starts at the top,” one of the administration officials told Politico.


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Another insider said, “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 s---.” As per reports, some of Harris’ employees are thinking of resigning from their posts while a few of them have already done that, like staffers Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFranceschi, who were earlier responsible for supervising her travel.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to members of the media after presiding over a vote on a sweeping voting rights bill at the Capitol on June 22, 2021, in Washington, DC. The measure failed as Democrats fell well short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster by Republicans (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A source said that DeFranceschi left the administration due to a “difference in opinion on how things should run.” “If you have an opinion about how things should run and it’s not listened to, that can be frustrating,” the person stated. However, Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson for Harris, dismissed the claims. She also defended Flournoy by saying she has an “open door policy” and that “Black women like me would not have the opportunity to work in politics without Tina.”

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’. We have created a culture where people if there is anything anyone would like to raise, there are avenues for them to do so. Whoever has something they would like to raise, they should raise it directly,” she added. Sanders also has nice words for Harris as she stated that the 56-year-old “is focused on the work, not the chatter at the water cooler.”

Leah Daughtry, who has worked with Flournoy for decades in Democratic politics, supported her and said: “Look, [Tina’s] strong, she's intelligent, she's driven, and she expects strong, intelligent, driven people around her. But some people may find strong, driven, smart people intimidating, but I think that’s more projection than reality because that’s just not Tina's intent or style. And nothing in her experience would lead you to think that she’s an intimidating person.”

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris looks on before the start of a virtual listening session in the South Court Auditorium at the White House complex on June 23, 2021, in Washington, DC. Following the Senate blocking the “For the People Act,” the topic of the listening session was voting rights (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to the president, also defended Flournoy and explained why Harris' border trip was kept under wraps. She said, “It was closely held and there may be people whose feelings were a little hurt on her staff that they weren't brought into the discussion. But any suggestion that it was mishandled or kept a secret from people who needed to know about the arrangements or needed to know about it is absolutely not true.”