The comments in Harris’ defense come after several recent reports detail concerns about low morale among the vice president’s and White House staff, as well as concerns about trust in Harris to push Democrats into 2024.
Communication difficulties and mistrust between aides and senior officials on Harris’s team, including her chief of staff Tina Flournoy, have contributed to a “tense and at times stern office atmosphere,” Politics reported, citing interviews with 22 current and former aides.
But now assistants are rushing to Flournoy and Harris’ defenses in an attempt to control the story.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told… axios in a statement that Biden’s “trust and confidence” in Harris “is evident when you see them together in the Oval Office.”
Biden senior adviser Cedric Richmond told the outlet that circulating reports of Harris and her staff called it “a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.”
“She has become a trusted and loyal adviser to the Vice President and the administration,” said Clinton adviser Minyon Moore. The hill. “She is smart, strategic and very hardworking. She understands the significance of this moment in history and the enormous weight of being the first [female vice president].”
Harris’ senior adviser, Symone Sanders, and deputy chief of staff Michael Fuchs also defended the vice president and Flournoy in statements to Axios.
“People don’t fight every day,” Sanders told the outlet. “There is no consternation among assistants. That is not true. … I hear there are critics. Those who often talk don’t know and those who know are usually not the ones who talk.”
Fuchs called the reports “rumors” and said they were “false,” Axios said.
Other political aides who spoke to The Hill on condition of anonymity praised the couple for their work.
“I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to lead a demanding director who doesn’t want to make mistakes and a young staff with very little experience in the executive. It’s so early and she really needed someone with Tina’s experience inside and escort the ship,” a longtime aide to President Biden told the outlet.
The issues highlighted in the reports this week were apparently illustrated during Harris’s recent trip to the border. Some Harris’ aides and other officials in the Biden administration, including those responsible for booking her travel arrangements, were “confused” by her decision to travel to El Paso earlier this month, according to Politico.
“People are thrown under the bus from above, there are short fuses and it’s a violent environment,” a person with knowledge of operations at Harris’s office told the outlet. “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 one.”
Apparent concerns about Flournoy’s leadership were reflected in a report by CNBC. The outlet reported that Harris’s chief of staff had “effectively shut out” a number of the vice president’s allies in politics and business, including top donors.
Harris has faced intense criticism from GOP lawmakers regarding her role as the Biden administration’s point of contact in efforts to address an ongoing immigration crisis. Republicans had criticized the vice president for resisting calls to personally assess the situation at the border.