Democrats and senior Biden officials ‘fear “heir apparent” Kamala’ could LOSE if she becomes nominee

Amid defenses and recriminations following reports of dysfunction in the office of Vice President Kamala Harris is a concern among some Democrats that the political figure most prominently positioned to succeed Biden isn’t up to the task.  

Some Democrats fear that Harris, despite being in the public eye as Biden’s partner and four years as a senator from California, might lack the ability to keep the White House

A Democratic operative told Axios – which ran an explosive story that drew furious pushback Friday –  that the issue isn’t: “‘Oh, no, our heir apparent is f***ing up, what are we gonna do?’ It’s more that people think, ‘Oh, she’s f***ing up, maybe she shouldn’t be the heir apparent.'” 

Of particular concern is whether Harris, who has struggled to control the narrative on border issues Biden put in her portfolio, would be able to reassemble the coalition that drove Biden to victory in 2020.

Senior White House staff rushed to defend Vice President Kamala Harris amid a welter of criticism that her office was dysfunctional and complaints that staff were not valued

Senior White House staff rushed to defend Vice President Kamala Harris amid a welter of criticism that her office was dysfunctional and complaints that staff were not valued

Senior White House staff rushed to defend Vice President Kamala Harris amid a welter of criticism that her office was dysfunctional and complaints that staff were not valued

A new Pew analysis of the 2020 election and polling notes that Biden made gains among men, while also improved on Hillary Clinton among white voters without a college degree. Even though younger and minority voters were critical to his primary and overall win, moderate and centrist voters were also a key part of his coalition.

 ‘White voters without a college degree were critical to Trump’s victory in 2016, when he won the group by 64% to 28%. In 2018, Democrats were able to gain some ground with these voters, earning 36% of the White, non-college vote to Republicans’ 61%,’ according to Pew.

‘In 2020, Biden roughly maintained Democrats’ 2018 share among the group, improving upon Clinton’s 2016 performance by receiving the votes of 33%. But Trump’s share of the vote among this group – who represented 42% of the total electorate this year – was nearly identical to his vote share in 2016 (65%).’

When asked about the reports of office dysfunction during her daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said she tried not to 'speak to or engage on anonymous reports' ¿ then came to Harris's defense

When asked about the reports of office dysfunction during her daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said she tried not to 'speak to or engage on anonymous reports' ¿ then came to Harris's defense

When asked about the reports of office dysfunction during her daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said she tried not to ‘speak to or engage on anonymous reports’ – then came to Harris’s defense

Harris, if running in effect on a second Biden turn in the event that he decides not to run, might not be well-situated to run with the same coalition, particularly having been a target in conservative media.

Biden, who has not said for sure he will run again, certainly isn’t ruling out being atop the ticket again, which would make any Harris staff struggles less relevant.

Last week, Biden told Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin that his only regret is that he’s leaving as president – only to add: ‘not me, not soon.’

He has made repeated efforts to bolster Harris, as he did Friday when he invited her onstage during an event with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who hail from her home state – although as Biden noted, Harris hails from northern California and is a Giants fan. 

The quip recalled yet another time Harris had to walk the tight rope, when she was photographed wearing a Dodgers cap while preparing for a presidential debate even though the Oakland-born Harris roots for the Giants.   

Notably, top Democrats are not attaching their name to the grousing, and Harris has not suffered any kind of personal scandal. Biden has held up his history-making decision to put her on the ticket, and may find it hard to back away from her – although he learned in 2015 and 2016 how being vice president is no guarantee of succession.  

When asked about the reports of office dysfunction during her daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said she tried not to ‘speak to or engage on anonymous reports’ – then came to Harris’s defense. 

‘The vice president is an incredibly important partner to the president of the United States,’ she added. 

‘She has a challenging job, a hard job and she has a great supportive team of people around her,’ Psaki said. 

Senior White House officials are racing to defend Vice President Kamala Harris amid reports of a dysfunctional workplace, staff resignations and tensions between the West Wing and her team.

Criticism has focused on her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, and aides described an environment where they were treated ‘like s***.’

But top White House officials mobilized to defend Harris, accusing anonymous critics of a ‘whispering campaign’ designed to bring her down.  

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told Axios: ‘The president’s trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together.’

He said her talents and determination had already made a big difference to some of the toughest challenges facing the administration.

‘She’s delivering for the American people on immigration, small business, voting rights, and economic growth, he added. 

‘The results speak for themselves: a decline of border arrivals from the Northern Triangle, improved vaccine equity, and increased economic opportunities for women.’

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain raced to the defense of Harris. 'The president's trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together,' he said.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain raced to the defense of Harris. 'The president's trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together,' he said.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain raced to the defense of Harris. ‘The president’s trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together,’ he said.

Tina Flournoy is the vice president's chief of staff and is being blamed for creating a hostile work environment which allies of Kamala Harris say is nothing but a 'whispering campaign' designed to sabotage her

Tina Flournoy is the vice president's chief of staff and is being blamed for creating a hostile work environment which allies of Kamala Harris say is nothing but a 'whispering campaign' designed to sabotage her

Tina Flournoy is the vice president’s chief of staff and is being blamed for creating a hostile work environment which allies of Kamala Harris say is nothing but a ‘whispering campaign’ designed to sabotage her

Tensions reportedly boiled over last week when the vice president finally decided to visit the border with Mexico. 

The decision blindsided officials tasked with arranging travel and others outside her office responsible for messaging across the administration, according to Politico.

The outlet cited 22 officials, former officials, aides and associates of President Biden and Harris who described low morale, a tense atmosphere, porous lines of communication and diminished trust. Much of the blame was directed at Flournoy.

‘People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,’ said one source. 

‘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**t.’  

Cedric Richmond, senior adviser to Biden, dismissed the anonymous criticism, saying: ‘It’s a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.’

He said she remained in high demand for public events.

‘At some point it just becomes, one person says something long enough and it becomes an urban legend,’ he said.

‘It doesn’t have to be credible. It doesn’t have to be real. Someone says something and it can just snowball.’ 

Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser to Biden, dismissed the anonymous criticism as a 'whispering campaign.' He said: 'It doesn¿t have to be credible. It doesn¿t have to be real. Someone says something and it can just snowball'

Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser to Biden, dismissed the anonymous criticism as a 'whispering campaign.' He said: 'It doesn¿t have to be credible. It doesn¿t have to be real. Someone says something and it can just snowball'

Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser to Biden, dismissed the anonymous criticism as a ‘whispering campaign.’ He said: ‘It doesn’t have to be credible. It doesn’t have to be real. Someone says something and it can just snowball’

Tensions started to boil over after Harris finally decided to visit the border last week, blindsiding staffers

Tensions started to boil over after Harris finally decided to visit the border last week, blindsiding staffers

Tensions started to boil over after Harris finally decided to visit the border last week, blindsiding staffers

Tina Flournoy, pictured, has allegedly created an environment where 'ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out'

Tina Flournoy, pictured, has allegedly created an environment where 'ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out'

Tina Flournoy, pictured, has allegedly created an environment where ‘ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out’

Even so, the allegations will be treated with alarm inside an administration that knows Biden will be 81 at the time of the next election and has done much to promote Harris as the last person in the room when decisions are taken, setting her up for a possible primary run. 

The sources claimed that President Biden’s office was concerned about the treatment of staff.

Biden, on the day he was inaugurated, warned presidential appointees while swearing them in that he would fire them ‘on the spot’ if he were to hear that they have shown ‘disrespect’ others. 

‘I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect or talk down to someone, I promise you, I will fire you on the spot — on the spot. No ifs ands or buts,’ Biden said at the time.

Flournoy has allegedly created an environment where ‘ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out,’ the outlet reported. She allegedly ‘refuses to take responsibility’ and blames staffers for negative results.

Some of the sources told Politico that Harris also is responsible for how her office is run, claiming that the toxic environment ‘all starts at the top.’ 

Biden, on the day he was inaugurated, warned presidential appointees while swearing them in that he would fire them 'on the spot' if he were to hear that they have shown 'disrespect' others

Biden, on the day he was inaugurated, warned presidential appointees while swearing them in that he would fire them 'on the spot' if he were to hear that they have shown 'disrespect' others

Biden, on the day he was inaugurated, warned presidential appointees while swearing them in that he would fire them ‘on the spot’ if he were to hear that they have shown ‘disrespect’ others

Harris aides are reportedly already looking to leave the administration while some already have – like staffers Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFranceschi, who oversaw the vice president’s travel.

Satkowiak and DeFranceschi left under what had been described as ‘long-planned departures’ but sources contested that characterization to Politico.

DeFranceschi, who previously worked in the Obama administration, reportedly left over a ‘difference in opinion on how things should run.’

‘If you have an opinion about how things should run and it’s not listened to, that can be frustrating,’ the source told Politico.

Harris’ chief spokesperson Symone Sanders, pushed back against the claims and called those who made them ‘cowards,’ according to Politico.

‘People are cowards to do this this way,’ Sanders said. 

She added: ‘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.’

‘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.’ 

Sanders also said that Harris ‘is focused on the work’ and ‘not the chatter at the water cooler.’

The chief spokesperson also defended Flournoy and said she has an ‘open door policy’ and that ‘black women like me would not have the opportunity to work in politics without Tina.’

Harris tours the El Paso Border Patrol Station on June 25 in El Paso, Texas

Harris tours the El Paso Border Patrol Station on June 25 in El Paso, Texas

Harris tours the El Paso Border Patrol Station on June 25 in El Paso, Texas

Harris speaks with El Paso Border Patrol Chief agent Gloria Chavez as she tour the US Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center

Harris speaks with El Paso Border Patrol Chief agent Gloria Chavez as she tour the US Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center

Harris speaks with El Paso Border Patrol Chief agent Gloria Chavez as she tour the US Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center

Bill Clinton defended Kamala Harris' embattled chief of staff after the vice president's office was rocked by a report in which staffers claimed they are 'treated like sh**' and that Tina Flournoy has created 'blame culture'

Bill Clinton defended Kamala Harris' embattled chief of staff after the vice president's office was rocked by a report in which staffers claimed they are 'treated like sh**' and that Tina Flournoy has created 'blame culture'

Bill Clinton defended Kamala Harris’ embattled chief of staff after the vice president’s office was rocked by a report in which staffers claimed they are ‘treated like sh**’ and that Tina Flournoy has created ‘blame culture’

Bill Clinton also came to the defense of Flournoy, who ran his post-White House office. 

‘Tina Flournoy ran my office for more than eight years, making it more efficient, effective, and transparent. She made it easier, not harder, for me to advance my philanthropic work and my post-presidential activities, and keep in touch with my friends,’ he said in a statement to CNBC on Thursday. 

‘She has a unique ability to focus on the big picture and adapt to changing conditions. And she does it all with a great sense of humor and an unwavering belief that we all have an ability and an obligation to make a difference.’

Jennifer Palmieri, who worked in the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, said sometimes chiefs of staff just weren’t popular.

‘Sounds like what’s happening here is that Tina Flournoy is doing her job. Chiefs of staff gotta run interference. Doesn’t always make you popular. But it’s part of the job. Protect the boss’ time,’ she wrote on Twitter.   

Others who spoke to Politico to defend Harris and Flournoy said that black women were held to standards that others in politics are not – and that a ‘demanding office environment’ would be seen as a virtue for other leaders.

‘Look, [Tina’s] strong, she’s intelligent, she’s driven, and she expects strong, intelligent, driven people around her,’ said Leah Daughtry. 

‘But some people may find strong, driven, smart people intimidating, but I think that’s more projection than reality because that’s just not Tina’s intent or style. And nothing in her experience would lead you to think that she’s an intimidating person.’

Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to the president, also defended Flournoy. 

Dunn said keeping the border trip news private to a small group of people was made because Harris’ office didn’t want it to leak or ‘turn it into a spectacle,’ Politico reported.

‘It was closely held and there may be people whose feelings were a little hurt on her staff that they weren’t brought into the discussion,’ Dunn said. 

‘But any suggestion that it was mishandled or kept a secret from people who needed to know about the arrangements or needed to know about it is absolutely not true.’

When Politico asked Dunn about complaints in the office, Dunn said complaints were ‘not anywhere near what you are describing.’

Flournoy previously worked in the White House under President Bill Clinton and then worked on his reelection campaign, as well as then-Vice President Al Gore’s campaign for president in 2000. 

She was working as Clinton’s post-presidential chief of staff before she was tapped to work for Harris.

One source told Politico: ‘People who Clinton knew for decades all of a sudden couldn’t get through to him because Tina choked off contact.’

‘Because Clinton didn’t use email, she was able to keep many [friends of Bill] out,’ the source said.

The source added: ‘You can’t just flat out ignore people and not get back to them.’

A friend of Harris’ recently tried to reach Flournoy on behalf of a top Democratic donor but was also ignored, the outlet reported. 

Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a roundtable discussion with faith and community leaders and local service providers, during a visit to the Paso del Norte Port of Entry on June 25

Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a roundtable discussion with faith and community leaders and local service providers, during a visit to the Paso del Norte Port of Entry on June 25

Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a roundtable discussion with faith and community leaders and local service providers, during a visit to the Paso del Norte Port of Entry on June 25

Vice President Kamala Harris visits the Paso del Norte Port of Entry on June 25 in El Paso, Texas

Vice President Kamala Harris visits the Paso del Norte Port of Entry on June 25 in El Paso, Texas

Vice President Kamala Harris visits the Paso del Norte Port of Entry on June 25 in El Paso, Texas

When they were ignored, the donor then contact Harris’ office directly and did not hear back for weeks. They were later told Harris was too busy to meet with them.  

The friend told Politico: ‘This is someone who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars—millions, even—for your boss and you’re just blowing them off?’ 

‘Next time Kamala wants [them] for something, it’s like, ‘Hey, I couldn’t even get a call-back from your chief of staff!’,’ the friend said.

Some Harris allies explained to Politico that the vice president has ‘gone out of her way not to engage in politicking’ to prove her loyalty to Biden as it remains unclear if he will run for reelection in 2024.

Other allies explained Harris’  apparent strategy of not raising her own profile as ‘foolish’ for someone who has ‘been in public life for 30 years.’

‘You don’t just all of a sudden go radio silent,’ said one former aide. 

That former aide indicated that Harris is likely aware of the purported problems in her office.

‘She is the most perceptive person on the planet. She might not have first-hand knowledge, but it’s hard to imagine she doesn’t have a sense of what’s going on,’ the person said.

The sources who spoke to Politico blamed some of the low morale in Harris’ office on the issues she has been tasked with tackling for the Biden administration which made her an early target for conservatives – such as slowing the flow of migrants.

Instead of flying to the border, Harris had flown to the countries where the migrants had come from or traveled through on their way to the United States. 

Harris finally visited the border weeks later as her aides insisted she did not make the trek because of criticism she faced. But others claimed she inadvertently seemed to affirm conservative criticism against her with the seemingly impromptu trip. 

link

(Visited 46 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply