A new report from Axios claims fears about personal branding are prompting some in Kamala Harris’ office to jump ship just months into the vice president’s tenure.
According to Axios, some who have announced their departures from Harris’ payroll have expressed concern about being “permanently branded” as a Harris supporter, especially as the vice president has faced scrutiny from Republicans for appearing apathetic to her duties.
“Axios is told some Harris staffers want to work on Biden’s re-election campaign,” the outlet reported, “while others don’t want to be aligned with Harris in the event another promising Democrat runs for president in 2024.”
“It’s going to set women back”
Some in the Democratic Party are even reportedly worried that a perception that Harris failed at her job as VP could hurt other women politicians’ chances of winning elections in the coming years.
“If we mess this up, it’s going to set women back when it comes to running for higher office for years to come,” one Democratic operative who is said to be close to Harris’ office told Axios amid the recent departures.
Among those who have stepped down from top roles in Harris’ office is Ashley Etienne, the VP’s former communications director who announced her departure in mid-November.
Symone Sanders, Harris’ chief spokesperson, issued a similar announcement this week. According to the Daily Caller, the 31-year-old said in her resignation letter that she’s grateful to Harris “for her vote of confidence from the very beginning and the opportunity to see what can be unburdened by what has been.”
“One recurring theme”
The official stance from Harris’ office has been that the departures were amicable and that the now-former staffers are simply moving on to pursue new opportunities.
“[Sanders] came in to be a service to this country, and here’s a woman who has her own brand and her own book that just came out,” Glynda Carr, who leads a Democrat-aligned PAC, told Axios.
Still, Axios contends that “one recurring theme” among staffers “is concern — even fear — about career harm by being too closely linked to a flagging operation.”
Even President Joe Biden is said to be sending his staffers to defend Harris as she grapples with high turnover and negative press — not to mention dismal approval ratings.
“As of Nov. 30, 41% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Harris and 52% had an unfavorable opinion — a net rating of -11 percentage points,” according to a new report from The Los Angeles Times. Only time will tell if she can turn things around before the next time her name appears on the ballot.