Specifically, Whipple examines the oft-reported staffing problems that have plagued Harris’s office for nearly two years now.
Harris office culture “poisonous”
Whipple asked a former Harris staffer about the vice president’s office. The staffer said that Harris suffered from “deep insecurities” that have “led to a poisonous atmosphere among her staff and led to questions about her ability to lead,” the Washington Times reported.
The former staffer accused Harris of playing “really unnecessary gamesmanship” with her staff – a practice the former staffer believes was rooted in “deep, deep insecurities.”
The staffer, who spent years working for Vice President Harris, said Harris “refused to do the kind of preparation that you need to do before going public on a hardcore policy matter. And then she became incensed and outraged when things wouldn’t go the way she thought they were supposed to.” The staffer said “there was a lot of magical thinking.”
Obviously, former staffer’s often have a tendency to paint their former employers in an unflattering way; criticism, which comes from former staff, should be viewed with a degree of skepticism.
Reports of a poor work culture – stemming from Harris’s own behavior – plus a staff “exodus,” have plagued the administration since the beginning. Several of Harris’s top aides – from her chief of staff to her communications director to her press secretary – all quit the administration within only 18 months.
So, Whipple’s source’s criticisms are consistent with the image that has already been painted about the Harris administration.
The staffer added that Harris’s treatment of staff “is not new, and it will inhibit any administration that she is the leader of.” The staffer also dismissed the Harris’s administration’s favorite defense mechanism, one which I have also written to dismiss: the tendency to frame critiques of the administration as race and gender based scorn.
“When somebody raises an issue about Kamala, everybody’s like, you don’t want to see black women succeed,” the staffer said. “That’s completely backward. Everybody who goes to work for Kamala, by definition, wants to see her succeed. That’s why you take these jobs.”
I can think of some other reasons why one might take a job with the Vice President of the United States – but the heart of the staffer’s point stands: the framing of Harris criticism as racism or misogyny is typically ridiculous.
Nothing new for Kamala Harris
Gil Duran, another former Harris aide, also spoke with Whipple, saying that Harris’s tenure as California Attorney General was plagued with bouts of “dysfunction.”
“The amount of stress she created by constantly being impossible to manage and taking out all her stresses on staff – usually women, or people who were not in great positions of authority – was just kind of unbearable,” Duran said.
As Attorney General, it’s worth remembering that Harris was often heavy handed (prosecuting parents for the truancy of their children, for example) and obviously politically ambitious (she failed to prosecute Big Tech for monopolization, however).
When Harris ran for president in 2020, she billed herself as a tough prosecutor – approximately at the time the left was calling for criminal justice reform and progressive prosecution. The misstep led to an abysmal presidential campaign (with an early exit) and underscores another factor inhibiting Harris from ascending higher: she’s bad at politics.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.