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Vice President Kamala Harris’ office is reportedly an “abusive environment” where staffers are “thrown under the bus” when things go wrong, according to 22 current and former staffers who spoke to Politico on condition of anonymity Wednesday.
Much of the ire from current and former staff is aimed at Harris’ chief of staff, Tina Flournoy. Flournoy allegedly routinely blames lower-level staffers when initiatives fall through and often ignores input from staff, the sources told Politico.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” one of the people with direct knowledge of how Harris’ office is run told Politico. “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 shit.”
The report states that many staffers in Harris’ office were blindsided by the announcement that the vice president would visit the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, last week. The decision to keep knowledge of the visit among just a few top staffers reportedly came from Flournoy.
“Recently, a Harris friend personally reached out to Flournoy on behalf of one of the party’s top donors to try to arrange a brief meeting. They were ignored. The friend said it wasn’t clear whether Flournoy knew who they were. The donor also contacted Harris’ office personally to connect, and didn’t hear back for weeks. They eventually were told the VP was too busy to schedule some time.
‘This is someone who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars—millions, even—for your boss and you’re just blowing them off?’ the Harris friend asked. ‘Next time Kamala wants [them] for something, it’s like, ‘Hey, I couldn’t even get a call-back from your chief of staff!’”
A spokesperson for the Biden administration and Harris have pushed back on reports of toxicity within the vice president’s office, however. (RELATED: Kamala Harris’ Trip To Central America Suffers Early Missteps)
“Black women like me would not have the opportunity to work in politics without Tina,” chief Harris spokesperson, Symone Sanders, told Politico. “People are cowards to do this way.”
“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,’” Sanders added. “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.”