U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to members of the media, after attending the Munich Security Conference, at her hotel in Munich, Germany February 20, 2022Last week, one of Kamala Harris’ longest-serving aides, Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh, was reported to be quitting to take on a role at the US Defence Department, feeding into rumours that infighting and a “toxic” work environment generated by the VP’s management style had triggered the recent spate of departures by VP staff.Kamala Harris’ national security adviser, Nancy McEldowney, has joined the long line of high-profile staffers that have quit the vice president’s office of late, triggering rumours of a “toxic work environment” being to blame.McEldowney, who worked for Harris since she took office alongside President Joe Biden, will be replaced by her deputy Philip Gordon, the White House said Monday.
"Vice President Kamala Harris is pleased to announce she is appointing Dr. Philip H. Gordon as Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President. Dr. Gordon brings a wealth of foreign policy experience to the position, including as Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President for the past 14 months", Kamala Harris said in a statement.
Earlier, a Reuters report, citing an internal memo, claimed McEldowney referred to the need 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. But after more than a year, this is the right decision for my family”, she was cited as writing.
There is no clarity yet as to when the resignation will take effect, with the former ambassador to Bulgaria and one-time director of the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute cited as saying she wasn’t “rushing out the door”.McEldowney is said to have advised President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris on a range of global issues, including the speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan, negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme, and the ongoing special operation launched by Russia to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine.In a statement, Harris was cited as praising McEldowney for her “invaluable counsel” and “exceptional talent, deep expertise, and leadership navigating complex challenges”.
Nancy McEldowney, who accompanied Kamala Harris on her recent official visits to Central America, Asia, and Europe, is the 10th key VP staffer to depart since last June amid reports of bullying and a “toxic” work environment.Another One Hits the Dust: One of Kamala Harris’ Longest-Serving Aides Reportedly Quitting17 March, 05:04 GMTOthers to quit have been Director of Digital Strategies Rajun Kaur, Director of Advance Karly Satkowiak, Deputy Director of Advance Gabrielle DeFranceschi, Communications Director Ashley Etienne, Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders, Director of Press Operations Peter Velz, Deputy Director of Public Engagement Vince Evans, Speechwriting Director Kate Childs Graham, and Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh.Make it Eight: Yet Another Kamala Harris Staffer to Leave White House4 February, 09:01 GMTWhile White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended the departures late last year as “natural”, Symone Sanders and Ashley Etienne both quit the VP’s team amid what reports in December called “entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus”. Kamala Harris’ staff was “experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust among aides and senior officials”, Politico had reported in July 2021.According to former Harris aide Gil Duran, cited by The Washington Post, the VP adhered to an allegedly “soul-destroying” management style.“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?” Duran was quoted as saying, blaming Harris’ “destructive patterns” for the exodus.