When Vice President Kamala Harris finally decided to visit the Mexico border last week, people inside her own office were blindsided by the news.
A piece of news made by Politico is based on leaks from within and around the vice president’s orbit describes her office as chaotic, tense, dour, abusive, and an unhealthy work environment where “people feel treated like s***”.
The report quotes 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials, and associates of both Ms. Harris and Joe Biden to paint a picture of a toxic and incompetent operation from the top-down, with particular ire aimed at the VP’s chief of staff Tina Flournoy.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” said a person with direct knowledge of how Ms. Harris runs her office.
The report claims Ms. Flournoy created an insular environment where ideas are ignored and she refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for negative results that follow, like the bungled trip to the Mexico border blindsided members of the vice president’s own office.
For days, aides and outside allies had been calling and texting with each other about the political fallout that a potential trip would entail. But when it became known that she was going to El Paso, it left many scrambling, including officials who were responsible for making travel arrangements and others outside the VP’s office charged with crafting the messaging across the administration.
The handling of the border visit was the latest chaotic moment for a staff that’s quickly become mired in them. Harris’ team is experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication, and diminished trust among aides and senior officials. Much of the frustration internally is directed at Tina Flournoy, Harris’ chief of staff, a veteran of Democratic politics who began working for her earlier this year.
In interviews, 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials, and associates of Harris and Biden described a tense and at times dour office atmosphere. Aides and allies said Flournoy, in an apparent effort to protect Harris, has instead created an insular environment where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out. Often, they said, she refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for the negative results that ensue.
Ms. Flournoy reportedly lords over an environment where ‘ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out,’ Politico reported. She allegedly ‘refuses to take responsibility and blames staffers for negative results.
Kamala Harris’s ‘abusive’ office: VP rocked by claims staffers are ‘treated like sh**’ and that chief of staff Tina Flournoy has created a ‘blame culture’ https://t.co/cDWxasFlO0
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) July 1, 2021
Harris’ defenders argue that these moments are overblown; that few people beyond the politically obsessive will remember the din of a press conference or whether she went to the border on her own volition or under duress.