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In the Wake of Disastrous Trip Abroad, Kamala Loses Another Staffer

  Here’s a way to make the federal government smaller that you may not have thought about: Put Kamala Harris in charge of every arm of the f...

 Here’s a way to make the federal government smaller that you may not have thought about: Put Kamala Harris in charge of every arm of the federal bureaucracy and dramatically increase the number of people who report straight to the top.

Harris goes through staffers like tissue paper. Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. And every time a viral clip of Kamala gaffing during a speech hits Twitter, the vice president’s office loses a high-ranking employee.

This time, the departing party is Nancy McEldowney, Harris’ national security adviser. The departure comes after the vice president’s disastrous trip to Poland and Romania. 


Reuters was the first to report that McEldowney was leaving. According to the wire service, McEldowney said in a memo to staff that she was leaving to “focus on some pressing personal matters.” 

“This was a difficult decision because I am so deeply committed to the work we do and the crucial national interest we serve,” she said.

“But after more than a year, this is the right decision for my family.” 

McEldowney added that she was “not rushing out the door,” although it wasn’t clear what her final day would be. An administration official said it would likely be toward the end of the month.

Her deputy, Philip Gordon, will replace her.

“Both McEldowney and Gordon have worked for Harris since she took office and have advised the vice president and President Joe Biden on topics such as Afghanistan, Iran, Ukraine, and cybersecurity,” Reuters reported.

In a statement, Harris said McEldowney had given her “invaluable counsel” and that Harris was grateful for her “service — her exceptional talent, deep expertise, and leadership navigating complex challenges.”

While one doesn’t wish to intuit other motives to the departure that aren’t there, it’s worth noting this comes after yet another high-profile foreign adventure for Harris that fell flat. 

The vice president’s trip to Eastern Europe amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was best encapsulated by a clip from a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in which Harris inappropriately laughed off a question about the refugee crisis the war had caused.


The timing may be a coincidence, but it makes McEldowney the 10th high-profile staffer to leave Harris’ office since June, according to the New York Post

The other departures have been deputy director of advance Gabrielle DeFranceschi, communications director Ashley Etienne, deputy director of public engagement Vince Evans, speechwriting director Kate Childs Graham, director of digital strategies Rajun Kaur, chief spokeswoman Symone Sanders, director of advance Karly Satkowiak, deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh and director of press operations Peter Velz.

Accompanying these departures have been numerous stories in the media about discontent within the vice president’s office — something that’s been a pattern throughout Harris’ career.

“Staffers who worked for Harris before she was vice president said one consistent problem was that Harris would refuse to wade into briefing materials prepared by staff members, then berate employees when she appeared unprepared,” The Washington Post reported in December.

“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” a former staffer told the Post. 

“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.”

“One of the things we’ve said in our little text groups among each other is what is the common denominator through all this and it’s her,” Gil Duran, a former Harris aide who quit after just five months with her in 2013, told the Post. “Who are the next talented people you’re going to bring in and burn through and then have [them] pretend they’re retiring for positive reasons?”

Meanwhile, a source who talked to Politico for a piece last summer about the toxic environment in her office had this to say: “People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment. It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s***.”

Working in the White House with the vice president would normally be a job that almost anyone in Democratic politics would relish, given the opportunities it would open up in the future. That’s doubly true when it’s widely assumed she’ll be taking the reins from President Joe Biden sooner rather than later. 

Instead, it seems you can’t pay people enough to stay in Kamala Harris’ orbit.

Given that, I know it may seem to be an unorthodox solution — but if we could find a way that we could get enough bureaucrats to report directly to Harris, we could theoretically reduce the size and scope of government.

After all, there seems to be only one part of the Biden Beltway leviathan where the jobs aren’t stable, and that’s the vice president’s office.

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