Harris' New Communications Chief Rags on Her & Biden in Old Posts
The recent staff reshuffle in the office of US Vice President Kamala Harris came amid her falling approval ratings. Observers claim that Harris’ inability to build a stable team could negatively affect her future political career.
Jamal Simmons, earlier announced by Kamala Harris
as her new communications director, criticized Biden and Kamala in earlier comments and called the COVID-19 vaccines “janky science.”
Simmons, who hosted for The Hill the “Why You Should Care“ show, had mocked President Biden in a segment called “dazed and confused“ for his tendency to exaggerate and embellish confusing life stories. “We do this story about once a week!“ Simmons said at the time. “It’s what you get with Uncle Joe.“
The former host also doubted the efficiency of the vaccines against COVID-19 back when the Trump administration was seeking emergency use approval for one of them in 2020. He called it a “janky science vaccine,” while also describing the Trump administration's pandemic response as “ill-managed.”
Simmons responded on Friday, saying that he has “tweeted a lot and spoken out on public issues” throughout his career and at times has been “sarcastic, unclear, or just plainly missed the mark.”
“I sincerely apologize for offending those who care as much as I do about making America the best, multi-ethnic, diverse democracy it can be. I know the role I am taking on is to represent the Biden-Harris administration, and I will do so with humility, sincerity and respect,” he said in a statement, obtained by CNN.
Harris' new communications director had also previously warned that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden shouldn’t get "too comfortable" with the Black vote, as he didn’t gain such credibility “on his own.”
Among other things, Simmons described then-Sen. Harris’ presidential campaign in 2019 as “listless, unfocused.”
“Prior to the debate I had been having bad feelings about the Harris campaign,“ he posted. “It seemed listless, unfocused. These lackluster fundraising totals are not a surprise. I’m curious to see how this changes over the summer, now that Kamala’s poll numbers have increased and Biden seems more like a winged bird than the inevitable nominee.“
Simmons was also apparently unhappy with illegal immigrants back in 2010, calling for the US borders to be strengthened. He tweeted about two “undocumented folks talking on MSNBC“ and asked, “why is ICE not picking them up?“
Simmons, who previously worked as a political strategist for more than 20 years in several presidential campaigns and for a number of lawmakers, is to replace Ashley Etienne, who announced in November that she would be leaving her post in December.
Other important members of Kamala’s public relations staff have recently left her office, which has been dubbed a “staff exodus.”
Among the members who have vacated their positions are Harris’ chief spokesperson Symone Sanders, who resigned last month, and Vincent Evans, the vice president’s deputy director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs. Peter Velz, the director of Harris’ press operations, also announced his departure from the White House this week, according to Fox News.
31 December 2021, 06:23 GMT
Earlier, reports have been focused on the vice president's
staff changes since July, speculating that a ”toxic atmosphere” prevails in her office. All of Harris’ representatives have denied these rumors, but analysts have noticed that the staffing problem is not new and similar ones have reportedly previously occurred throughout her political career.
Sources told the media that only two of Harris' senior team members brought to the White House worked for her before last year, while Biden is surrounded by people who have been with him for most of his 50-year political career.
Meanwhile, Harris’ approval ratings
remain a concern for her political future, currently standing at 32 percent
in comparison with 40 percent
in late December and 28 percent in November.