'Toxic' Kamala Harris: More ex staff recall VP as 'demeaning' after Politico report

'Toxic' Kamala Harris: More ex staff recall VP as 'demeaning' after Politico report
US Vice President Kamala Harris at her ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on July 14, 2021 in Washington, DC (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Several former employees of Kamala Harris have accused her of creating an unhappy working environment years ago after reports of toxic work culture in the Vice President’s office surfaced recently. A report by Business Insider stated that after a June report by Politico claimed that Harris’ staffers alleged they’re “treated like sh**”, a number of her ex-staffers alleged to have experienced the same in the past.

A former staffer told Business Insider, “So many people recognized themselves in it, or recognized treatment they had seen or treatment they had heard about and dismissed,” before adding that they sent the story's link to their therapist with a note that said, “Rarely in life are we publicly vindicated.” Business Insider’s story is reportedly based on the interviews with 12 former Harris workers when she was San Francisco’s district attorney (2004 to 2011), California’s attorney general (2011 to 2017), and a US senator (2017 to 2021).


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According to some of her former staffers, the 56-year-old was “unpredictable and at times demeaning.” When Harris was serving as AG of California, there was “a sense of paranoia in that office, that you never knew when she was going to snap at you,” a former aide to her alleged. Another staffer claimed that Harris used to like to be briefed on any issue three days in advance, but there were instances when she scheduled briefing meetings without informing anyone and then rebuked them after not getting satisfactory answers. An ex-aide said, “She would move that time slot up so you would be within the 72-hour window without the materials.”


U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris leaves the stage after delivering remarks at the Louis Stokes Library on the campus of her alma mater Howard University on July 8, 2021, in Washington, DC. Organized by the Democratic National Committee, the event focused on voting rights. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

These new accusations came a few weeks after Politico interviewed 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials, and associates of Harris and President Joe Biden. In that interview, which was mostly targeted towards Harris’ chief of staff Tina Flournoya, one staffer alleged, “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---.”


U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks via video link to the Generation Equality Forum in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on June 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

However, the report by Business Insider is pointing fingers directly at Harris. “[L]ol that everyone is pointing to her [Flournoy] when it’s obvi KDH,” an ex-worker reportedly sent a text to another one while referring to the Politico story. Meanwhile, a number of people have defended Harris too as Jeff Tsai, a former top aide to her in the California AG’s office, was quoted by Business Insider that “all of the paces she put us through were the same paces she put herself through.” Another dismissed the accusations while branding it as an example of “the idea that strong women are bitches and she’s just another one.” A former aide said Harris was loved by all her staffers during her stint as California’s AG, but they were also “so stressed out that they were making themselves sick. Is that toxic? I don’t know.”


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