Politics Vice President Kamala Harris' chief of staff Tina Flournoy...

Vice President Kamala Harris’ chief of staff Tina Flournoy to leave administration


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WASHGINGTON – Tina Flournoy, chief of staff for Vice President Kamala Harris, is leaving the Biden administration, according to a White House official, the latest in a series of Harris staff departures that began after reports of turmoil in the vice president’s office.

Flournoy, who held the top post since Harris entered office, will be replaced by Lorraine Voles, a Harris senior advisor and former communications director to Vice President Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.

Harris called Flournoy a “valued advisor and confidant” and a “tremendous leader for the office” in a statement.

“From day 1, she led our team during a historic first year as we made progress rebuilding our economy here at home and our alliances around the world,” the vice president said. “Tina is the consummate public servant and I will continue to rely on her advice, counsel and friendship.”

Harris, who traveled to her hometown of San Francisco to discuss maternal health Thursday, could not be reached by traveling reporters to answer questions on Flournoy’s exit. The Washington Post first reported the departure.

Symone Sanders, VP Kamala Harris’ chief spokesperson, to leave White House amid staff shake-up

At the end of lsatyear, Symone Sanders, chief spokesperson and senior adviser to Harris, resigned and will soon host a new television show on MSNBC. Ashley Etienne, Harris’ communications director, stepped down earlier and was later replaced by Democratic communications aide Jamal Simmons as part of a larger communications overhaul.

The White House has pointed to the “grueling and exhausting” nature of the positions to explain the exits. Among reports last year, CNN quoted anonymous sources describing “exasperation and dysfunction” in the vice president’s office. That report drew intensive pushback from the administration.

Harris, the first female vice president and the first Black and South Asian American person to hold the office, has been a frequent target of criticism for her role overseeing challenging issues like addressing the root causes of immigration, voting rights and access to abortion.

White House rallies around Kamala Harris after reports of dysfunction in West Wing

Harris’ approval ratings have consistently polled lower than Biden’s. A USA TODAY poll taken in January found 32% approve of her job as vice president, compared to 47% who disapprove.

Flournoy previously served as former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and worked in various roles for Gore’s 2020 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Her exit comes as the White House and Democrats face major headwinds to hold on to power in the Senate and House in the midterm elections seven months away.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Flournoy has been a “critical member” of the White House team from the beginning. “Her experience, wisdom, and hard work have been instrumental to our success on many issues.”

Progressives saw Kamala Harris as a unique champion. Lately, they’re disappointed.

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

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