Vice President Kamala Harris’ “deep insecurities” have led to a poisonous atmosphere among her staff and led to questions about her ability to lead, according to a former aide.
The former staffer accused the vice president of engaging in “really unnecessary gamesmanship” with her underlings, a practice the person said was rooted in “deep, deep insecurities,” according to Chris Whipple’s forthcoming book about the Biden administration titled “The Fight of His Life.”
The staffer, who worked for Ms. Harris for years, said she “refused to do the kind of preparation that you need to do before going public on a hardcore policy matter. And then she became incensed and outraged when things wouldn’t go the way she thought they were supposed to.”
“There was a lot of magical thinking,” the person said, according to excerpts from the book revealed by the Washington Examiner.
Previous reports of staff turmoil have hobbled the vice president’s public image since taking office. Several of Ms. Harris’ top aides, including her chief of staff, communications director and press secretary, departed within the first 18 months of the administration.
Other former members of her staff have also reported poor treatment.
The aide who came forward for Mr. Whipple’s book noted that Ms. Harris’ behavior toward her staff “is not new, and it will inhibit any administration that she is the leader of.”
The vice president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The former aide dismissed criticism that former members of Ms. Harris’ staff were targeting her because of her race or gender.
“When somebody raises an issue about Kamala, everybody’s like, you don’t want to see Black women succeed,” the person said. “That’s completely backward. Everybody who goes to work for Kamala, by definition, wants to see her succeed. That’s why you take these jobs.”
Another former aide, Gil Duran, told Mr. Whipple that Ms. Harris‘ staff dealt with similar bouts of “dysfunction” during her tenure as California attorney general.
“The amount of stress she created by constantly being impossible to manage and taking out all her stresses on staff — usually women, or people who were not in great positions of authority — was just kind of unbearable,” Mr. Duran said.
Mr. Whipple said Ms. Harris declined to answer questions about “turmoil and morale problems” among her staff while reporting for his book.
• Joseph Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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