The negative publicity about Vice President Kamala Harris in the mainstream media is getting so bad that one of her aides felt compelled to announce he is perfectly happy working for her.
“Hi. My name is David Gins,” the aide tweeted. “I work for Vice President Harris on behalf of the American people as Deputy Director for Operations and absolutely love my job. Just thought some of you should know.”
Along with his note, Mr. Gins posted a photograph of himself at work at his desk in the vice president’s office, eyes wide open. The response on social media was swift and brutal.
“Blink twice if you need to be rescued,” Christina Pushaw, press secretary to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, tweeted to him in a comment typical of the hostage video reaction theme on social media.
As staffers leave the embattled Ms. Harris in droves, the liberal mainstream press is taking notice.
The Washington Post said four resignations of key aides in the vice president’s office, including top adviser Symone Sanders, have “reignited questions about why Harris churns through top-level Democratic staff, an issue that has colored her nearly 18 years in public service.”
“Now, those questions about her management extend to whether it will hamper her ability to seek and manage the presidency,” the article stated.
Some staffers criticized Ms. Harris for failing to read briefings to prepare on issues and then berating aides when she is caught unprepared.
“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” one former staffer told the paper. “With Kamala, you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”
Even before the latest wave of resignations in the vice presidential office, Ms. Harris was receiving less-than-glowing coverage in the normally Democratic-friendly media.
On Ms. Harris’ diplomatic mission to France last month, The New York Times said she was searching for a role on the global stage.
“Ms. Harris’s track record on delivering on the administration’s global priorities has been mixed,” the paper reported.
The Chicago Tribune, noting Ms. Harris’ historically low 28% job approval rating in one poll, said in an editorial that “the harsh reality is that many Americans find Vice President Kamala Harris unimpressive so far.”
Los Angeles Times columnist Mark Z. Barabak wrote that the job of vice president “is inherently a diminishing one,” but he said Ms. Harris has performed “more like an apprentice” than someone prepared to step into the top job.
“Another reason for Harris’ fade to the background is her thin Washington resume,” Mr. Barabak wrote.
CNN reported, “Worn out by what they see as entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus, key West Wing aides have largely thrown up their hands at Vice President Kamala Harris and her staff.”
It’s a breathtaking fall in the liberal media for Ms. Harris, who appeared on the cover of Vogue in January sporting a Donald Deal designer jacket and Converse sneakers.
Around the time of the inauguration, four of the top 10 books on The New York Times’ bestseller list were children’s picture books about Ms. Harris or were written by her.
The plummeting popularity of Democrats’ second-ranking official is creating angst over who can best lead the party in 2024 if President Biden decides not to run, or in 2028.
The Democratic National Committee didn’t respond to requests for comment on Ms. Harris or recent media coverage.
A veteran Democratic operative told The Washington Times on background that the vice presidency is essentially a thankless job.
“If you’ve ever studied the coverage of previous vice presidents, there’s one thing that always stands out: They’re completely invisible,” the Democrat said. “We have both a White House press corps that ignores the substance — her policy initiatives on behalf of the White House — and a political press corps that mainly deals with the superficial (2024 or beyond).”
All vice presidents are expected to show loyalty to the president, and any frustrations with that partnership “come out in gossipy, conflict-laden stories with anonymous quotes, like the ones we’ve seen about Vice President Harris lately,” said Christopher Devine, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Dayton who has written two books on the vice presidency.
“Nearly every vice president has to deal with such public airings of grievance at some point,” he told The Washington Times. “But it is more concerning when the vice president in question is someone relatively new on the national stage, whose public image is still being shaped, as is the case for Vice President Harris.”
To the extent that Ms. Harris envisions running for the presidency, he said, “she should be concerned about how this story plays out.”
He said Ms. Harris “needs to show the American people, including some skeptics within her own party, that she is exercising real leadership in the White House — even if just behind the scenes — and making a material contribution to the Biden administration’s successes.”
“How to do that without showing up the president? There’s no easy answer to that,” Mr. Devine said.
Robert Garcia, the mayor of Long Beach, California, said Ms. Harris was bound to have a difficult path as the first woman of color in her post.
“Kamala Harris is the FIRST woman to serve as Vice President,” the Democrat wrote in a post on Twitter. “She’s breaking glass ceilings and making history. It was never going to be easy but she’s paving a path forward for all women. If you believe in her and what she represents, then buckle up. Progress will win.”
Gil Duran, who worked for Ms. Harris when she was California’s attorney general, said the reports of staff turmoil “have a familiar ring to longtime Harris watchers in California.”
“As a former Harris staffer who quit after five months in 2013, I’m not surprised,” he wrote last week in the San Francisco Examiner. “Still, it’s sad to see her repeat the same old destructive patterns under the harsh gaze of the Washington press corps.”
Although sexism and racism are partly to blame for Ms. Harris’ low approval ratings, he said, “White supremacy does not explain the internal psychodramas causing Harris’ staff and her White House colleagues to betray her in public repeatedly.”
“Those of us personally familiar with Harris’ deficiencies know they cannot be fixed by new staff or pricey consultants. The change has to come from her,” Mr. Duran wrote.
The Post said interviews with 18 current and former Harris aides “point to an inconsistent and at times degrading principal who burns through seasoned staff members who have succeeded in other demanding, high-profile positions.”
Katrina Pierson, who served as an adviser on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team, said on Twitter of the criticism, “You KNOW you are a bully when 18 people sell you out and some are willing to go on the record.”
Ms. Sanders told The Post that she wasn’t leaving because of her unhappiness. She said she is getting married next year and has “earned a break.”
The White House has publicly downplayed the staff shake-up in Ms. Harris’ office.
“In my experience, and if you look at past precedent, it’s natural for staffers who have thrown their heart and soul into a job to be ready to move on to a new challenge after a few years,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week. “That is applicable to many of these individuals. It’s also an opportunity, as it is in any White House, to bring in new faces, new voices and new perspectives.”