It seems like everyone is heading for the revolving door at the White House these days, with a number of top officials elbowing each other on the way out as President Joe Biden’s approval rating tanks and midterm elections loom.
Although some White House turnover is to be expected 18 months into a term, a stampede is not. The rush for the exits comes at a very critical moment for Democrats as it is widely expected they are going to get thrashed during the midterm elections, possibly costing them both the Senate and the House.
“Given the complex challenges that the administration is facing, these departures are coming at an inopportune time,” Democratic strategist Joel Payne lamented.
“It’s been a long few years,” an anonymous senior administration official said according to The Hill. “The burnout is real. It might not be the ideal time to leave with everything going on, but it’s the right time.” The White House official also claimed
We already know the red wave is coming. They obviously know it too.
— often uncommon 👊 (@oftenuncommon) June 17, 2022
According to the official, the early summer months are see seen as the best time to depart and claimed many White House aides are “tapped out,” according to the Hill. It’s convenient that they are jumping ship before the bloodbath of the upcoming midterms.
The biggest shake-up this week came from departing White House counsel Dana Remus, who is set to leave next month and be replaced by her top deputy Stuart Delery. Remus was reportedly the driving force behind the tapping of Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court. She also oversaw the filling of a long list of federal judicial seats, according to The Hill.
As the House and Senate potentially flip red in the midterms, the White House counsel’s office will be pivotal in responding to requests by Republican lawmakers, who are expected to lead numerous probes into the Biden administration.
Former Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa.), who is a Biden ally and senior policy adviser at Nossaman LLP, contends that Remus’ departure is perfect timing for the White House to prepare for such investigations. They will now start gathering the legal troops to fight what they know is coming from the right.
Their getting out before the crap hits the fan
— Darlene Sivak-Kurnig (@DARLA_1) June 11, 2022
“I think it would be more surprising if she left in the fall. I think that her timing now provides Delery more than ample time to get prepared for the kinds of onslaught they expect from Republicans in the fall,” he told The Hill.
Not everyone on the left is on board with that optimistic assessment.
“It doesn’t look good,” one Democratic strategist noted to the media outlet. “The perception from the outside is that it’s not the place you want to be. There’s a lot of finger-pointing going around right now. It doesn’t seem like it’s humming the way it should be.”
Keisha Lance Bottoms, the former mayor of Atlanta, was named senior adviser to the president for public engagement this week and will replace former Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.). Bottoms was on Biden’s shortlist for vice presidential contenders before he chose Kamala Harris.
“I think bringing Lance Bottoms on was kind of a genius stroke, and I’m very glad that she agreed to do it. She does have a very broad background in Democratic politics. Her positions in politics, and in Georgia politics in particular, will be very helpful going into the midterms but also going into 2024,” Carney posited.
President Joe Biden taps former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to White House staff 🤦♀️
She is "MS. Defund the Police" 👮
President Biden has appointed Whackos – like they dropped ACID in an Outback parking lot 🤣 pic.twitter.com/I8OFUOZiEq
— Joni Job (@jj_talking) June 15, 2022
Julie Chavez Rodriguez was promoted this week to senior adviser and assistant to the president and plans to continue serving as director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as well. Chavez Rodriquez is the granddaughter of farm worker rights leader Cesar Chavez.
The attrition from the White House press office is also impressive. Former press secretary Jen Psaki, who took a gig at MSNBC, was replaced by less-than-impressive Karine Jean-Pierre.
just like rats leaving a sinking ship
— Proud American (@jffigg) June 10, 2022
Rapid Response Director Mike Gwin also left for a role at the Treasury Department and press mediator Michael Kikukawa departed this week for a role at Treasury as well.
Vedant Patel, who had served as an assistant press secretary, left for the State Department and Amanda Finney, who is the former chief of staff in the White House press office, left for the Department of Energy.
As Finney found her way out the exit, Jean-Pierre joked about the multiple departures during a recent press briefing earlier this month.
“I know every day, every day I’m going to be doing these little goodbyes, but I promise we will have a press shop,” she nervously joked. “But not everyone is leaving.”
— Hades (@wolvesofhades) June 17, 2022
It sure seems that way as many Democrats brace themselves for the political fallout that is about to hit the fan via the midterm elections.
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