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Kamala Harris Hires Two New Staffers, One Related To Jen Psaki

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Kamala Harris’ poll numbers are falling quicker than Leon Spinks when he fought Mike Tyson and she has now made a move to attempt to change that.

She hired two new senior advisors, but one of the hires has some people crying nepotism as yet another member of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s family has been brought into a prominent role, The Washington Post reported

Harris has hired Lorraine Voles and Adam Frankel, to focus on strategic communications, organizational development, and long-term planning, an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said to The Post.

You can figure out what “long-term planning” means for yourself as Joe Biden approaches his 80s.

The hires come amid a sense of anxiety among some Democrats about Harris’s first year as vice president. Many in the party view Harris, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for president, as a leading candidate to take the mantle from the 78-year-old President Biden either in 2024, should he choose not to run for reelection, or in 2028.

But she has been taken on politically difficult assignments — such as addressing the root causes of migration in Central America and tackling the volatile area of voting rights — where it is difficult to make immediate progress.

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As the first Black and South Asian woman to serve as vice president, Harris also has an outsized media presence compared with past vice presidents, an area Frankel and Voles have been helping to manage. Unlike Biden, Harris also has faced staffing issues.

Frankel has a history in politics, having worked on former President Obama’s 2008 campaign and then as a speech writer. He went on to work “as a senior adviser at Fenway Strategies, a speech writing firm founded by Obama administration alumni, and Emerson Collective, the organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs. He also worked as a vice president at PepsiCo.,” The Post said.

And there is one more advantage he may have had over others for the job.

“Frankel is married to Stephanie Psaki, a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services and the sister of White House press secretary Jen Psaki,” The Post said.

Yes, Frankel and his wife, both relatives of Jen Psaki, work in the administration. And months after Psaki’s sister was hired The Post did a story on what it said was nepotism in the Biden / Harris administration.

““[A]t least five children of [Biden’s] top aides have secured coveted jobs in the new administration. They include two sons and a daughter of the White House counselor, the daughter of a deputy White House chief of staff and the daughter of the director of presidential personnel,” it said.

“The pattern — which continued this week with the Treasury Department’s announcement that it was hiring J.J. Ricchetti, son of Biden counselor Steve Ricchetti — has drawn concerns from ethics experts, diversity advocates and others. They say it is disappointing that Biden didn’t shift even further from the practices of Donald Trump’s presidency, which they felt reeked of nepotism and cronyism,” it said.

It also named the press secretary’s sister, which prompted a furious tweet from Psaki.

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“Can confirm my job over the last 5 months did not retroactively get my brilliant sister a masters degree from Harvard, a PhD in public health from John’s Hopkins and decades of published work and respect in the field. She is more qualified than I am to be here,” she said sarcastically.

Walter Shaub, an Obama-era ethics official, was not a fan of the appointments.

“Nobody asked how your sibling got her degree, @jrpsaki. No one doubts she earned that degree. They asked why the administration isn’t concerned about the appearance of so many relatives of WH staff working in a govt that has outlawed nepotism. Is better than Trump good enough?” he said in a now deleted tweet.

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