Vice President Kamala Harris' office has been hit with low morale and diminished trust among aides and senior officials, according to Politico.
The news outlet said it conducted interviews with 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials, and associates of Harris and President Joe Biden. The sources described a tense and at times dour office atmosphere.
"People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses, and it's an abusive environment," said one person with direct knowledge of how Harris' office is run. "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."
Tina Flournoy, Harris' chief, of staff, is targeted for causing much of the frustration, Politico noted.
Flournoy has created an insular environment where ideas are met with harsh dismissals or ignored and decisions are delayed, sources told Politico.
And often, they said, she refuses to take responsibility for certain issues and, instead, blames staffers for negative results.
Not long ago, a Harris friend personally contacted Flournoy on behalf of one of the party's top donors to try to set up a meeting with the vice president.
But they were initially ignored. The friend said it wasn't clear whether Flournoy knew who they were. They eventually were told Harris was too busy to schedule some time to talk with them, Politico said.
"This is someone who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars — millions, even — for your boss and you're just blowing them off?" the Harris friend asked. "Next time Kamala wants [them] for something, it's like, ‘Hey, I couldn't even get a call-back from your chief of staff!'"
Flournoy worked in President Bill Clinton's White House, as well as on Clinton's reelection campaign, according to Politico
Symone Sanders, senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Harris, defended Flournoy saying she has an "open door policy." And she pushed back at the chief of staff's anonymous critics, adding: "People are cowards to do this this way."
"We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day," Sanders said. "What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I'm like 'welcome to the club.' "We have created a culture where people, if there is anything anyone would like to raise, there are avenues for them to do so. Whoever has something they would like to raise, they should raise it directly."
But CNBC reported that Harris, under Flournoy's watch, has not been returning phone calls to people who have considered themselves members of her inner circle.
One Harris supporter said she hasn't heard from the vice president since a call with supporters during the transition period, according to CNBC.
One person close to Harris said they appreciated what Flournoy is doing and has accepted that it's simply going to be more difficult to reach Harris now that she is vice president.
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