It all boils down to one word: Staffing – Vice President Kamala Harris has a new campaign chief of staff. How long this chief of staff lasts is an open question. Rumors suggest that Harris intends to play the role of the aggressive attack dog for Joe Biden’s campaign.
Longtime Biden aide Sheila Nix will be Harris’ campaign chief of staff. She will be responsible for setting the vice president’s schedule. Nix currently works as chief of staff to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. She previously worked as First Lady Jill Biden’s chief of staff during Barack Obama’s second administration.
‘Sheila is no stranger to campaigns or the Biden-Harris team. Sheila’s strategic sense and ability to navigate challenges made her an invaluable advisor to me on our 2020 general election team,” Harris told Axios in a statement.
Kamala Harris is expected to keep pressing on abortion rights and gun control, a campaign aide told Axios. Recently, Harris has been at the forefront of pushing the administration’s talking points on the issues.
New Staff for Kamala Harris: Will It Help?
Keeping Harris from being a drag on the ticket has become a priority for the Biden White House.
Republicans such as Nikki Haley have made defining Harris a punchline for Biden’s re-election.
“If they think that they are voting for President Biden, a vote for President Biden is actually a vote for President Harris. We are running against Kamala Harris. Make no bones about it. The New York Times knows it. Every liberal knows it. They know it’s gonna be Kamala Harris that’s going to be president of the United States if Joe Biden wins this election,” Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley told Fox News earlier this year.
FiveThirtyEight notes that Harris’ popularity is a drag on the ticket. Her disapproval rating stands at 51.6 percent and her approval rating at 40.7 percent.
Harris’ Problems with Staff
Harris’ history of toxicity with her staffers and turnover raises questions of how long this effort to keep her on point can last.
She is known for her tirades against staff. Within months of becoming vice president, rumors were rife about infighting on her staff.
“With Kamala, you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why,” an anonymous former Harris staffer told the Washington Post in December 2021.
Since becoming vice president in 2021, Harris has experienced significant staff turnover. She burned through a chief of staff, a deputy chief of staff, and a communications director during her first 18 months in office.
A year ago, Harris’ domestic policy adviser Rohini Kosoglu announced her departure. Around the same time, Harris’ speechwriter Meghan Groob announced she was leaving after only four months on the job. Kosoglu’s tenure with Harris stretched back to Harris’ earliest days in her Senate career.
Harris’ Destructive Campaign History Looms Large
Going into the 2024 election, Nix will have to navigate the minefield of Harris’ tendency to commit gaffes, be disagreeable, and unfocused.
“Those of us personally familiar with Harris’ deficiencies know they cannot be fixed by new staff or pricey consultants. The change has to come from her,” said Gil Duran, a former aide to Ms. Harris and other California Democrats, wrote in a December 2021 San Francisco Examiner column.
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.