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Vice President Kamala Harris noted in an interview published on Sunday she won’t allow “ridiculous” headlines tied to a spate of recent stories to distract her.
“There is nothing about this job that is supposed to be easy,” Harris told the San Francisco Chronicle. “If something is coming to me, it’s because it needs to be addressed and because, by definition, it’s not going to be easy. If it was easy, it would have been handled before it comes to me.”
Harris’ remarks come amid a series of negative reports regarding working conditions in her office, departing staffers, and a decision last month to purchase an expensive cooking pot during her trip to France.
In addition, Harris drew some attention when she voiced opposition to the use of Bluetooth headphones because she thinks they are a security risk.
But in sum, all of those headlines are “ridiculous,” she said.
“Oh, how about, ‘She’s going to buy a pot on her way to the airport,’” said Harris. “After a very significant and highly successful bilateral meeting in France on issues that are about national security, on issues that are about climate, on issues that are about what we are doing in terms of international norms and rules on everything from cyber to space. Come on.”
The veep also said she would like to travel across the country more in 2022 but she said that will be limited due to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and the Senate’s 50-50 split, both of which are “very constraining.”
“I love people, and there’s so much that we are doing that is directly impacting and with the people in mind,” Harris claimed.
She added that after “two years of COVID … the level of, I think, undiagnosed trauma that people have experienced, the level of anxiety, it’s real.
“And I have always felt that my responsibility as an elected leader is to go to the people, especially when their needs must be addressed and they must know that they are being seen and being heard,” she added.
Some of the most scathing headlines of late, however, pertain to what some have described as horrific working conditions within Harris’ office amid a string of high-profile staff departures including, most recently, Symone Sanders, a senior adviser and her chief spokesperson.
In particular, there have been brutal reports from Axios and the Washington Post, both of which provide insight into what appears to be a chaotic, tumultuous office environment.
“Burnout, better opportunities and concern about being permanently branded a ‘Harris person’ is driving some of the turnover in Vice President Kamala Harris’s office, people familiar with the situation tell Axios,” that outlet reported earlier this month.
“Harris is not only a heartbeat from the presidency but, by virtue of her office, the presumed 2024 frontrunner if President Biden doesn’t seek re-election. There’s been an inordinate amount of disarray — and, now, turnover — throughout her tenure,” the outlet continued.
In many respects, the Post’s report was much tougher: “The rumors started circulating in July: Vice President Harris’s staff was wilting in a dysfunctional and frustrated office, burned out just a few months after her historic swearing-in and pondering exit strategies.”
The paper went on to quote several current and former staffers — most anonymously — who described hostile working conditions and a vice president who appears to be wholly unprepared for her role and especially the presidency.
“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” one former staffer told the paper. “With Kamala you have to put up 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.”
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