Vice President Kamala Harris’s communications director Ashley Etienne resigned Thursday as the vice president faces low approval ratings and reports of issues within her office have continued to swirl.
“Ashley is a valued member of the Vice President’s team, who has worked tirelessly to advance the goals of this administration,” a White House official said according to Fox News. “She is leaving the office in December to pursue other opportunities.”
Prior to her position within Harris’s circle, Etienne was a top adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and also served as her communications director. Etienne also worked in former President Barack Obama’s administration, where she worked as a special assistant and White House cabinet communications director, according to her LinkedIn.
The resignation follows ongoing reports of issues within Harris’s office – and even with the vice president herself. White House press secretary Jen Psaki hit back at a CNN report detailing alleged tension between Harris’s office and West Wing aides. Multiple Harris staffers allegedly have begun looking to leave, according to the CNN report.
“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,” Psaki tweeted on Sunday following the CNN report.
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.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) November 15, 2021
Politico also reported on alleged dysfunction within the office, with one “person with direct knowledge of how Harris’ office is run” describing the situation as “not a healthy environment.”
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” the person said according to Politico’s report, which was published in June. “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 shit.” (RELATED: Kamala Harris Says ‘We Can’t Just Flip A Switch And Make It Better’ When Pressed On Border)
Psaki followed up her defense of Harris with a comment at Monday’s press briefing, where she told reporters that Biden chose the vice president for the position “because he felt she was exactly the person he wanted to have by his side to govern the country.”
Harris told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos an interview that aired Thursday that she did not feel misused by the administration, laughing off the subject.
“We’re getting things done and we’re doing it together,” Harris said.
Harris is also suffering from poor approval ratings. A USA Today poll released November 8 saw just 28% of Americans polled saying they approve of her handling of the vice presidency.