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A forthcoming book claims that President Joe Biden threatened to dismiss any staffers for Vice President Kamala Harris if they were discovered spreading negative stories about her leadership and personality.
Biden reportedly made the threat amid a flurry of news stories documenting rising frustration and dissatisfaction with the VP among the ranks of her staff, many of whom have already quit in the year she’s been in office.
According to “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” an upcoming book by The New York Times Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, Biden was angry following negative reports last June claiming dissatisfaction among Harris’ staff.
In response, Biden brought in senior staff to the Oval Office and told them that if “he found that any of them was stirring up negative stories about the vice president…they would quickly be former staff,” according to an excerpt of the book reported by Politico.
Fox News adds:
The first year of the Biden/Harris administration was rife with reports that Harris’ staff was unhappy, as well as a seemingly endless string of departures from the vice president’s office as aide after aide resigned.
Harris’ communications director Ashley Etienne resigned in November to “pursue other opportunities.” That came after reports of exasperation between Harris’ office and Biden’s amid lagging approval ratings for Harris.
Shortly after Etienne’s departure, Symone Sanders announced she would be departing at the end of the year. Harris’ office said Sanders, a senior adviser, and her chief spokesperson, “will be missed.”
The exits continued into 2022. In January, Vincent Evans, who served as the vice president’s deputy director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs for nearly a year, left to become the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Then in February, Kate Childs Graham, Harris’ chief speechwriter, left the vice president’s office.
A White House official told CNN last week that Sabrina Singh, Harris’ deputy press secretary, is also calling it quits.
Her leaving marks the “latest high-profile departure from the vice president’s office, which suffered a turbulent first year due to missteps and messaging failures,” CNN reported, adding: “She will join the Department of Defense.”
“Ernesto Apreza, Harris’ senior adviser for public engagement, will become deputy press secretary and is expected to focus on engaging local and state press, as well as specific key coalition groups. Apreza previously served on the Biden-Harris campaign, as well as on the then-mayor of Seattle’s staff,” the report continued.
Many of the reports contained specific complaints from unnamed staffers.
In early December, the Washington Post published a lengthy report and quoted several current and former staffers who were frustrated with her.
“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” a former staffer said. “With Kamala, you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”
In July, a report by Politico contained remarks and observations from staffers who echoed many of the same complaints.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” said one person familiar with operations in Harris’ office. “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—.”
Politico noted further that members of Biden’s staff had begun to take notice of how Harris was treating her personnel and expressed concerns over it. It should be pointed out that Biden has not shed staff as his vice president has done.
Also in July, the Washington Free Beacon reported that some former Harris staffers were watching with a great deal of concern that she could wind up becoming president, which they described as a “nightmare scenario,” the outlet said.
“Many of them remain loyal Democrats and fans of Biden, but they didn’t want to see a boss with whom they’d had a bad experience become the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer. Biden, at 78, was already the oldest person to assume the US presidency. He’ll be a few weeks shy of his 82nd birthday on Election Day 2024, and there’s already speculation six months into his term over whether he’ll run for reelection,” the report said, quoting Business Insider.