Kamala Harris is a ‘bully,’ ex-staffers say
US Vice President Kamala Harris’s leadership style has been criticized by her former staffers, with some saying they had to deal with “constant soul-destroying criticism” from her.
In recent weeks the reports about tensions in Harris’s team were boosted by the departure of several key members, including the VP’s spokesperson Symone Sanders.
“Such tales of chaos have a familiar ring to long-time Harris watchers in California. As a former Harris staffer who quit after five months in 2013, I'm not surprised. Still, it's sad to see her repeat the same old destructive patterns under the harsh gaze of the Washington press corps," wrote a former Democratic strategist Gil Duran.
Conducting its own research of the atmosphere in Harris' entourage, The Washington Post talked to 18 people, including former and current members of her team, and White House officials, with some preferring to speak anonymously and others raising concerns over the VP's attitude to her staff more openly.
“Critics scattered over two decades point to an inconsistent and at times degrading principal who burns through seasoned staff members who have succeeded in other demanding, high-profile positions,” the outlet said.
According to one of the ex-staffers quoted by The Washington Post, people working with Harris have to deal 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,” a former aide told the outlet.
Harris’ supporters, however, claim that all the criticism pointed at her is grounded in a racism and a sexism that have followed Harris throughout her career and have only strengthened after her appointment as a VP. According to Sean Clegg, a partner at a consultancy that has worked with Harris in the past, she is a tough boss who can make people feel uncomfortable but if she were a man with the same management style “she would have a TV show called “The Apprentice.”
However, as The Washington Post notes, for both critics and supporters of the VP’s management style “the question is not simply where Harris falls on the line between demanding and demeaning,” but is much broader with many worrying that “her inability to keep and retain staff will hobble her future ambitions.”
According to an early November USA Today/Suffolk poll, Harris’ approval rating stood at just 28% with 51% of 1,000 registered voters disapproving of what she is doing.