Kamala Harris Has Reportedly Chosen New Communications Director as Staff Exodus Continues
"What impressed me about him back then — and something he is only better at today — was his ability to not just listen to everyone in the room but his ability to have the right people in the room every time, even if it didn't seem like it first glance", Matt McKenna, who has known Simmons for more than 20 years, told The Hill.
His departure follows those of other top aides in what has been described as an exodus by conservative media. Symone Sanders, chief spokesperson for the vice president, resigned last December. Her resignation followed the departure of communications director Ashley Etienne and several other staff members.
Axios wrote, citing its sources that one "recurring theme" among the staff members who left the VP's ranks was "concern" and even "fear" about how working for Kamala Harris would affect their career, with individuals worrying they'll be closely linked to a "flagging operation". Another source told the outlet that the reasons for departure are quite natural – better job offers, burnout, and interest in personal life.
The departures coincided with media reports, which spoke of a dour and tense atmosphere within the vice president's team, with staff reportedly being frustrated with dysfunctional operations. Current and former aides, who spoke with Politico said much of the anger is directed at Harris' Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy, who allegedly created an insular environment, where ideas and proposals are ignored and dismissed.
Other insiders blamed Harris for the tensions and frustration within the team.
"People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it's an abusive environment. It's not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s**t", one official, who requested anonymity told the outlet.
"They're consistently sending her out there on losing issues in the wrong situations for her skill set", a former high-level Harris aide told CNN.