Four similarly timed departures from Vice President Kamala Harris' staff comes amid rumors President Joe Biden might consider nominating her to the Supreme Court and sources are telling a congressional reporter and lawmakers to start familiarizing themselves with the process to nominate a new vice president.
The departures are raising questions about Harris' leadership, The Washington Post reported, speaking with 18 current and former staffers.
"One of the things we've said in our little text groups among each other is what is the common denominator through all this and it's her," according to former Democrat strategist Gil Duran, who quit after five months working for Harris in 2013 and has denounced Harris' "same old destructive patterns."
"Who are the next talented people you're going to bring in and burn through and then have [them] pretend they're retiring for positive reasons," he added to the Post.
Harris supporters have dismissed the criticism as sexist and racist, but prominent California political consultant Sean Clegg told the Post that Harris is just a tough boss.
"People personalize these things," he told the Post. "I've never had an experience in my long history with Kamala, where I felt like she was unfair. Has she called bulls***? Yes. And does that make people uncomfortable sometimes? Yes.
"But if she were a man with her management style, she would have a TV show called 'The Apprentice.'"
A former staffer, left anonymous by the Post, claims Harris' toughness is that of a "bully" and a cover for her lack of confidence or willingness to prepare for the job.
"It's clear that you're not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work," the staffer told the Post. "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."
Despite many Biden staffers having stuck with him for decades, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Harris' defectors are a "natural" turnover after a long campaign and first year in 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," Psaki said at Thursday's press briefing. "And 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."
The Post noted all four of Harris' departures were tied to shaping her image, but chief Harris spokeswoman Symone Sanders lent credence to Psaki's comments.
"I've been with the president since before he announced his run for president," Sanders told the Post. "I staffed him on the road. I traveled with him for nearly two years and during that time, there were days when on Monday I would get on a plane with Joe Biden. And then the plane would land in Delaware, I would drive from Delaware to Washington DC. And Tuesday morning, I would be on a plane with Kamala Harris.
"I'm getting married next year. I would like to plan my wedding. You know, I have earned a break. So me deciding that I'm leaving has absolutely nothing to do with my unhappiness. I feel honored every single day to work for the vice president who gave me an opportunity to be her spokesperson at the highest levels."
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