Recent reports have signaled discord between President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spurred on, at least in part, by allegations of dysfunction within the vice president’s office.
This week, a top Harris aide signaled that she will be moving on from the Biden administration by the end of the year.
A prominent Biden administration figure
Senior adviser Symone Sanders is just the latest high-profile departure from the vice president’s staff, coming just weeks after similar reports about communications director Ashley Etienne.
While it is unclear exactly why Sanders is preparing her exit, Politico reported that Harris and Biden have “known for a while” that she would be leaving soon.
Despite her prominent role in Harris’s office, she arguably has a closer connection to the president, having worked for him in some capacity over the course of about three years.
Sanders initially joined his presidential campaign and then worked on his transition team before settling in as a top spokesperson for Harris.
As reports of infighting and a dysfunctional work environment have plagued the vice president, Sanders has frequently defended Harris in public statements over the past several months.
“Grateful for Symone’s service and advocacy”
One White House source praised her performance, asserting that Biden and Harris “are grateful for Symone’s service and advocacy for this White House.”
Calling her “a valued member” and “a team player,” the unnamed individual concluded that Sanders “will be missed” when she exits the administration. Sanders reportedly sent a letter of her own to fellow staffers and administration officials to thank them for the opportunity.
During a press briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki fielded a question about the impending departures from the Harris team — specifically whether they signaled any internal strife among the vice president’s staff.
Instead of directly addressing the issue, Psaki insisted that there was nothing unusual about staffers stepping down, citing the “grueling and exhausting” nature of working for a presidential administration as well as the extensive campaigning that precedes it.
Despite her assurances, a pair of high-profile departures announced within weeks of each other is not going to reverse the negative reports surrounding an increasingly unpopular vice president.