During the last presidential election, I wrote a column warning voters that Kamala Harris isn’t ready to be president should she be needed to replace Joe Biden in the big chair if elected. A year into her tenure as vice president, her disastrous poll numbers and staff bolting for the door speak for themselves.
In recent weeks, four prominent staffers have announced their departures, including Ashley Etienne, the vice president’s communications director, and Symone Sanders, a top aide serving as senior adviser and chief spokesperson. Additional staff are eyeing exits according to reports. What on earth is going on?
The Washington Post recently spoke with 18 current and former Harris staffers throughout her career. Their assessment wasn’t inspiring, to say the least. “It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” one former staffer said in a scathing piece released Dec. 4. “With Kamala you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”
And to think the establishment media told us former President Donald Trump was a bully? Talk about glass houses.
Notwithstanding, serving in the White House under any administration is an honor and privilege. Especially when you’re working for the first female vice president in history and person of color to serve in that capacity. So imagine how badly things must be going in the East Wing when Harris’ senior staff and loyal lieutenants are running for the hills. No, you can’t blame it on “burnout” or any other silly excuse when capable staff who are quitting haven’t even logged a year on the job.
What’s increasingly apparent is Harris’ lack of leadership, problem-solving and management skills needed to serve in the highest echelon of government. At every test this past year, when our country needed the vice president to step up to the plate and solve serious problems impacting American lives — including the safety and security of U.S. troops — she fell short.
With the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan — that needlessly killed 13 U.S. military personnel — Harris didn’t intervene and push back on the incomprehensible decisions that were made by her boss and his military advisers that could’ve saved lives. Instead, she boasted about being “the last person in the room” before Biden made disastrous withdrawal decisions that placed Americans living in the war-torn country in harm’s way. At minimum, what Harris could have done was advise the president to get all American civilians and our Afghan allies out of Afghanistan before the Taliban took over and U.S. military withdrew from the region.
Instead, while hundreds of Americans were trapped behind enemy lines and our allies were being hunted down by the Taliban and its terror proxies, Harris was conspicuously absent from public view, opting to take an unnecessary trip to Vietnam and Singapore. This wasn’t just an optics failure in the world of American politics; it was a leadership test she failed in spades by not leveraging her power and resources as vice president to rescue Americans and our allies in grave danger.
To the contrary, America’s first female vice president split town and let the “guys” figure it out. The president, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and so on. A missed opportunity that could’ve shown voters that a female vice president has the chops to be commander in chief. Someone our nation can trust to take that proverbial 3 a.m. call.
Perhaps Harris missed reading the 2013 bestseller “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, which encourages women to not take a backseat in the workplace and instead to challenge the assumption that “men still run the world,” per Amazon’s top book review.
With the crisis at the U.S. southern border, voters are concerned about illegal weapons and deadly drugs such as fentanyl pouring into our country, killing Americans and making our communities less safe. We hear the drumbeat of disturbing reports of human trafficking, women being sexually abused as they make the treacherous journey to the U.S. and other horrors on the administration’s watch. What has the president’s appointed “border czar” done to solve these spiraling problems?
Harris is supposedly researching the “root causes” of mass migration while the mess at the border persists.
Then there’s the pandemic. Despite promises made by Biden that his administration would get the virus under control, the stark reality is more Americans have died from COVID-19 on his watch than during the Trump administration.
In 2020, there were 385,343 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., according to CDC data. As of Dec. 7, John Hopkins University of Medicine reports a total of 790,269 U.S. COVID-19 deaths, which means 404,926 Americans have died so far from the coronavirus in 2021 — an increase of at least 19,583 this year. This is despite having the benefit of three lifesaving vaccines at their disposal, therapeutics, personal protective equipment available for hospital workers and other critical resources the prior administration didn’t have.
It’s no wonder Kamala Harris’ inner circle is jumping off the ship.
Adriana Cohen is a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate. To find out more about Adriana Cohen and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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