Another Biden administration staffer has announced she will be leaving the White House, making her the latest to depart following a string of embarrassing reports that detailed tensions and chaos between the West Wing and Vice President Harris.
White House communications chief of staff Emma Riley announced in a tweet Friday that she will leave the White House to join the Department of Labor.
It was an honor and privilege to serve @POTUS and the American people at the @WhiteHouse,” she wrote, adding: “I’m excited to be moving down Pennsylvania Ave and traveling around the country with @SecMartyWalsh and @USDOL.”
— Emma Riley (@ERiley46) November 19, 2021
Riley’s announcement follows one from the White House on Thursday noting that Ashley Etienne, who is serving as Harris’ communications director, will be leaving next month.
“Ashley is a valued member of the Vice President’s team, who has worked tirelessly to advance the goals of this administration,” an unnamed White House official said, according to the outlet. “She is leaving the office in December to pursue other opportunities.”
She joined Harris’ team after the VP took office in January. Etienne previously served as the communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and worked in the Obama administration prior to joining the Speaker’s office.
The departures come following reports of turmoil between President Biden’s team and staffers loyal to Harris.
“Worn out by what they see as entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus, key West Wing aides have largely thrown up their hands at Vice President Kamala Harris and her staff — deciding there simply isn’t time to deal with them right now, especially at a moment when President Joe Biden faces quickly multiplying legislative and political concerns,” CNN reported.
Citing “a complex reality inside the White House,” the network went on to report that many inside Harris’ orbit “fume that she’s not being adequately prepared or positioned, and instead is being sidelined.”
“The vice president herself has told several confidants she feels constrained in what she’s able to do politically. And those around her remain wary of even hinting at future political ambitions, with Biden’s team highly attuned to signs of disloyalty, particularly from the vice president,” the network reported further.
And while both teams appear to be trading blame and pointing fingers, neither Biden nor Harris are polling well among voters. A USA Today/Suffolk University survey released earlier this month no doubt rocked the White House: Biden’s approval rating has fallen to just 38 percent in that survey, but Harris’ has cratered even more, clocking in at just 28 percent.
The CNN report isn’t the first to warn of tumult inside the Biden White House or, for that matter, inside Harris’ orbit.
In July, Politico reported that the VP’s staffers were complaining of a toxic work environment, claiming that she treated them “like s**t.” Additionally, several current and former aides described the work environment to the outlet as “abusive.”
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment. 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,” one source told Politico.
The reportedly dismal treatment left staffer “experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust,” Politico noted further.
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