Another One Hits the Dust: One of Kamala Harris’ Longest-Serving Aides Reportedly Quitting

© REUTERS / KACPER PEMPELU.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.03.2022
Reports of infighting and general dysfunction have accompanied a series of departures by staffers in Kamala Harris's office, including that of chief spokesperson and senior adviser Symone Sanders and communications director Ashley Etienne, with the Vice President declining to reply if the resignations were part of a greater trend within her office.
One of Kamala Harris' longest-serving aides is quitting among a series of exits by staffers in the US Vice President's office, reported CBS News.
Harris' current deputy press secretary, Sabrina Singh, will be taking on a role at the US Defense Department, according to an internal email obtained by the outlet.
"We will miss her institutional knowledge, strategic counsel and rapid-fire e-mail fingers," wrote Jamal Simmons, the communications director for the vice president, in the cited memo.
Singh was hired in March 2020 to run communications, going on to become a key adviser to Kamala Harris during the general election and the presidential transition.
She also worked for Harris during the general election and the transition.
Singh had served as deputy press secretary since the beginning of the administration of US President Joe Biden.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris prepares to deliver remarks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day from the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on January 17, 2022 in Washington, DC - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.02.2022
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Ernesto "Ernie" Apreza, who has been serving in the White House Office of Public Engagement, would be taking over Sabrina Singh’s role.
Seasoned Democratic political strategist Apreza, who had been employed during the 2020 Biden-Harris campaign, and served as Deputy Communications Director for the Hillary Clinton campaign, is suggested as having been chosen by Harris to fill a Hispanic outreach role ahead of the November 2022 midterm elections, added the report.
The cited memo indicated that the already hired new press secretary would be “a fantastic leader" of the communications team.
As the email purportedly made mention of a number of promotions within the office and one new staff hire, VP Harris, according to a cited source, intends to "reconfigure" her communications department.
Thus, Herbie Ziskend and Rachel Palermo are reportedly up for promotion. Ziskend, the deputy communications director, is set to become a senior communications adviser, while Palermo will become the new deputy communications director, writes CBS News.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaking about migrants heading to the U.S. at a news conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei during her visit to Guatemala City, Guatemala June 7, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.12.2021
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The current departure of an aide from the Vice President’s office is just one in a long line of exits, with reports suggesting that an allegedly “toxic and dysfunctional” work environment generated by the VP’s management style was one of the factors.
Peter Velz, Harris' director of press operations, left early in January to join the protocol team at the State Department. Vincent Evans, who had been serving as the VP’s deputy director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, similarly left at the start of the year, heading to the Congressional Black Caucus as executive director.
Earlier, reports had indicated that long-time aide, press secretary Symone Sanders and communications director Ashley Etienne had both quit the VP’s team last year amid what a CNN report in December called “entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus”.
Harris' staff was "experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust among aides and senior officials", Politico had reported in July 2021.
When asked last December, amid Symone Sanders' departure, if this was part of a larger staff shakeup in her office, Harris had declined to say anything other than wishing her outgoing staffer success.
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