Another high-ranking member of Vice President Kamala Harris’ staff is ditching the embattled politician, the second in the last month.
“Symone Sanders, the senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris, is expected to leave the White House at the end of the year, according to five administration officials familiar with the matter,” Politico reported.
Sander issued a note on Wednesday night to Harris’ staff, writing, “I’m so grateful to the VP for her vote of confidence from the very beginning and the opportunity to see what can be unburdened by what has been. I’m grateful for [Harris chief of staff] Tina [Flournoy] and her leadership and her confidence as well. Every day, I arrived to the White House complex knowing our work made a tangible difference for Americans. I am immensely grateful and will miss working for her and with all of you.”
Flournoy echoed to the staff, “Symone told the VP a couple months ago that she’d be leaving us at the end of the year. I’ve often said about her that no job is too big or too small for Symone.”
“Harris’ office has been beset by disorder, bad press, and, at times, internal frictions,” Politico reported, adding, “ … in recent weeks, chatter has grown increasingly loud that Harris wasn’t positioned well to be Biden’s heir apparent in 2028 or, if he opts not to run again, in 2024.”
In mid-November, Harris’ communications director, Ashley Etienne resigned. The Washington Examiner reported on November 18, “Etienne’s last day will be next month as the office opens for a new official to take the role.”
“Ashley is a valued member of the vice president’s team, who has worked tirelessly to advance the goals of this administration,” a White House Official stated, “She is leaving the office in December to pursue other opportunities.”
A USA Today/Suffolk University poll in November showed Harris with a 28% approval rating. In mid-November, Politico editor Anita Kumar noted Harris’ sagging popularity, saying to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, “But her approval ratings are low. I mean, is that, do you think that’s spreading to the American people when they, when they answer some of these polls and have an opinion about her?”
Psaki answered, “Look, I think we’ve seen, it’s not a secret, Anita, we’ve seen some drop in approval ratings. Um, you know, across the board. I will say that we also have to be, and we are very sober about, the fact that, um, there are some challenges, real challenges people are going through in this country.
Asked if she blamed sexism and racism for criticism of Harris, Psaki answered, “Yes. Criticism from the outside, absolutely.”
“I do think that it has been easier, and harsher, from some in the right wing who have gone after her because she is the first woman, the first woman of color,” she added. “I’m not suggesting anyone will acknowledge that publicly, but I think there’s no question that the type of attacks — the attacks on her that certainly, being the first she is many times over, is part of that.”