Exodus: Harris’ spokeswoman Sanders out, third staffer to leave in less than 2 weeks
Vice President Kamala Harris’ spokeswoman Symone Sanders is leaving the White House at the end of this year, following issues with communications.
An anonymous source told CNN, “The President and Vice President are grateful for Symone’s service and advocacy for this White House. She is a valued member, a team player, and she will be missed. We are grateful to have her working through the end of the year.”
Sanders’ departure makes her the third high-level staffer to leave the White House in less than two weeks. The VP’s communications director Ashley Etienne announced her departure on Nov. 18. The next day, White House communications chief Emma Riley resigned and joined the Department of Labor.
Rumors of an unhealthy work environment and dysfunction inside Harris’ office led press secretary Jen Psaki to defend the Vice President last month, tweeting, “For anyone who needs to hear it. @VP is not only a vital partner to @POTUS but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country—from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband.”
Harris’ communications have been challenging and controversial over the past year.
In early June, when Harris was asked by NBC reporter Lester Holt why she had not visited the border months after being put in charge of the migrant crisis, Harris responded that she hadn’t “been to Europe either.”
Harris made her first trip to the southern border weeks later, days before former President Donald Trump visited the border.
The Vice President also faced scrutiny when she did not pushback when a student at an event called Israel’s actions “an ethnic genocide and a displacement” of Palestinians.
In her 2020 memorir, Sanders wrote, “One day I want to be White House press secretary.”
According to Sander’s friend Bakari Sellers, the decision to pass her up for the role of press secretary “stung.”