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15 Jul, 2021 16:15

Working for Kamala Harris made staffers ‘sick’ with stress, drove them to therapy – reports

Working for Kamala Harris made staffers ‘sick’ with stress, drove them to therapy – reports

After a report describing US Vice President Kamala Harris’ office as an “abusive” workplace, a new story suggests that the dysfunction goes back to her time in California, where former aides sought therapy after working for her.

A recent report in Politico described Harris’ office as an “abusive,” “paranoid” place to work, where Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy frequently took her anger out on low-level staffers for perceived slip-ups, and stress and miscommunication reigned, apparently with Harris responsible for setting the atmosphere. President Biden, the report claimed, was concerned about Harris’ leadership.

“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 Harris’ office. “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 s**t.”

Also on rt.com Kamala Harris’ office described as ‘abusive environment’ with ‘low morale’ in scathing report

Harris’ office downplayed the report, with senior adviser Simone Sanders calling Politico’s sources “cowards,” and claiming that criticism of Flournoy was racially motivated. Regarding rumors that Biden’s office considered Harris’ a poorly-managed “s**tshow,” the White House denied these, and claimed Harris was a victim of a “whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.” 

The gossip hasn’t subsided, and to Harris’ former staffers and aides from her time as California’s attorney general and then senator, the quotes in Politico’s story looked familiar. Insider spoke to a dozen of them for a story published on Wednesday, and they described reading the Politico exposé and recognizing “treatment they had seen or treatment they had heard about and dismissed.”

“She often hung up on her aides, berated them when she didn't think they were prepared enough for briefings, and had a reputation for churning through interns and lower-level staff,” Insider reported.

At least 20 interns who worked in Harris’ offices in California came to Barbara O'Connor, a communications professor at California State University, crying over the working conditions under Harris. O’Connor, Insider reported, helped transfer around five of them to other employers.

Also on rt.com White House claims Kamala Harris is being sabotaged from within as staffers complain to media about ‘s**tshow’ inside VP’s office

One former staffer said that they sought therapy after Biden announced Harris as his running mate last year, in order to “resolve trauma from the on-the-job abuse” in Harris’ office. Another described the atmosphere in Harris’ office during her time as attorney general of California as “toxic” and “reactionary.”

The Vice President’s office again dismissed the latest report, with a spokeswoman instead saying that Harris is busy “making sure racial equity is at the core of everything the Administration does...combatting the existential threat of climate change, and...protecting the American people from the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

Some former staffers also told Insider that Harris’ offices were exhausting to work in, but not abusive. “All of the paces she put us through were the same paces she put herself through,” Jeff Tsai, a lawyer and a former top aide to Harris in the California attorney general's office, told the news site. Another claimed that Harris was being unfairly singled out for criticism because she is a “strong woman.”

Nevertheless, even Harris’ defenders admitted that she worked her staff to the bone. The same source who called Harris a “strong woman” said that everyone in the AG’s office “loved her,” but were also “so stressed out that they were making themselves sick.”

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