Former aides to Vice President Kamala Harris charge that she terrorized them in a hostile work environment, continuing a pattern that dates back to her time as San Fransico district attorney.
The criticisms of Harris’s management did not stop her rise from prosecutor to California attorney general to U.S. senator from the nation’s most populous state to presidential candidate all the way up through the vice presidency.
Two senior advance staffers in her vice presidential office recently announced their departures, in a manner some former employees say is familiar to them.
“Look, this is a bottom-line business,” one senior Democratic operative told the Washington Examiner after the recent allegations broke. “And the bottom line is the vice president has challenges with staff wherever she is.”
The criticisms of Harris’s management style have taken on new relevance, however, as she is well positioned to be the Democratic presidential nominee at some point in the future. President Joe Biden, already the oldest person to ever hold the office, will be 81 in 2024.
Presidential historian David Greenberg, who wrote Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency, said it’s too early to tell whether the claims will weigh on Harris’s future electoral prospects.
“Nothing in the news now will matter in 2024. If these reports are well founded, Harris has lots of time to fix them, and other more significant things will happen before then,” Greenberg said, calling the allegations “pure inside baseball.”
According to Business Insider, however, these issues have been cropping up for years.
Barbara O’Connor, a communications professor at California State University, Sacramento, told the outlet that at least 20 interns who had worked in Harris’s attorney general and Senate offices sought her advice in tears. O’Connor said that she helped several of them transfer out of Harris’s offices at the time.