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The whisper campaign against Vice President Kamala Harris has its origins among White House aides who increasingly see her as incapable of defeating any Republican challenger in 2024, including Donald Trump.
Recent missteps and gaffes by Harris at the border and with reporters have top Democrats worried that Harris simply isn’t up to the task of heading the Democratic ticket if Biden — who will be 81 if he runs — decides to stand aside.
It’s not just the gaffes. Biden aides have been undermining Harris’s authority in her own office, using recent revelations about its dysfunction to raise serious questions about her competence and temperament.
Axios has more background on the whisper campaign, fingering Harris’s combative chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, as a major target of dissatisfaction.
Several administration officials used “sh**show” when describing Harris’ office, and contrast her operation with disciplined, virtually leakproof Biden aides.
Some Biden officials view the Harris operation as poorly-managed and staffed with people who don’t have long-term relationships with her. They feel she’s gotten bad advice from her press and communications shop and think it’s telling that she’s already lost two advance aides and a digital director.
Case in point: A few months ago, what should have been a no-brainer of a press request came to the vice president’s office. Forbes wanted to feature Harris on the cover of its “50 Over 50” issue — saluting her rise to be the “first woman, the first Black person, and the first South Asian-American to become U.S. vice president.
After concluding that Flournoy had been sitting on the request — a characterization that an aide to the V.P. flatly disputes, explaining that she was simply nailing down details before sharing it with a larger White House circle — ultimately the West Wing intervened to get an answer for Forbes.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” one of Politico’s sources said. “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 sh–t.”
We’ve had bastards managing high offices before — the kind that make even people working in the White House dread going to work in the morning. And considering that younger workers don’t like anyone being mean to them—they run to HR when a boss treats them with anything but kid gloves—the stories may be exaggerated for their effect.
That effect is to undermine Harris’s chances if (some believe when) Biden refuses to run for reelection. It’s no secret that there are many Democrats working for Biden and Harris who are far more radical than the president. Staffers who supported Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for president were hired in order to placate the supporters of the crazies.
Biden’s team is still standing behind Harris publicly. But they can’t be happy with all these missteps that reflect badly on the president. White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Harris “an incredibly important partner to the president of the United States. She has a challenging job, a hard job, and she has a great, supportive team of people around her.”
“Challenging” and “hard” as an explanation for doing an incompetent job? No one is fooled.
The radicals who have infiltrated the White House have been busy. We’re only six months into Biden’s presidency and they’re apparently eager to get a head start on 2024.