Lauren Moye, FISM News
The personnel exodus continues from Vice President Harris’ staff, reaching a dozen last week with her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, announcing her departure.
As Harris’ most high-ranking official, Flournoy has served as the Harris’ chief of staff over the last 15 months. Harris released a statement on her chief’s departure: “From day 1, she led our team during a historic first year as we made progress rebuilding our economy here at home and our alliances around the world. Tina is the consummate public servant and I will continue to rely on her advice, counsel, and friendship.”
According to The Washington Post, the statement from the White House regarding the reason for Flournoy’s departure was simply that she is leaving for personal reasons. Yet, Flourney’s unexpected departure continues to paint a picture of an office splintering under pressure. Flourney is the second staffer to resign this month alone. Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Fuchs also quit less than three weeks ago.
Another notable exit was that of chief spokesperson and senior advisor, Symone Sanders, at the close of 2021. Altogether, Harris has lost twelve of her staff since she took office, including her national security advisor and deputy press secretary. Rumors of a toxic work environment have been circulating since mid-2021, including a Politico report claiming that Flourney had contributed to the drama while attempting to shield the vice president from criticism.
However, according to a Washington Examiner summary of the upcoming book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, the high turnover rate in the vice president’s staff come directly from conflict with Harris: “West Wing aides had been annoyed for months about having to tend to Harris and what they saw as gaps in her operation, some of which generated bitter gripes from congressional Democrats.”
Harris is no stranger to these kinds of claims. Similar rumors of a toxic work environment under Harris originate back to when she served as California’s attorney general. In fact, Biden’s advisers took control of choosing Harris’s staff for her before adding her to the ticket to avoid her existing “dysfunctional entourage” according to Martin and Burns. The result was a “tight political leash.”
As FISM has previously reported, this book also details the vice president’s thin skin toward complaints. Flournoy once spoke to Biden’s then-senior advisor Anita Dunn on “Harris’s discontent” with a perceived “lack of respect” from the staff as one of many fixations on “real and perceived snubs.”
Flournoy’s chief of staff role will now go to Lorraine Voles, who already serves as a senior advisor to Harris. Voles is also a former spokesman for Vice President Al Gore and served on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.