News Politics

Kamala Harris chief of staff heads for exit

Alexi McCammond

Vice President Kamala Harris is replacing her outgoing chief of staff Tina Flournoy with a senior advisor who’s been working with the VP since last summer.

Driving the news: Flournoy has been with the team from the beginning and is the highest-ranking of the VP’s office to leave amid a flurry of other significant departures in the last several months. A White House official told Axios Flournoy is departing for “personal reasons.”

  • Lorraine Voles, senior advisor to Harris, will start as her chief of staff next month.

The big picture: Several members of Harris’ communications team have already left, including Symone Sanders (a senior advisor) at the end of last year, amid what critics viewed as a poorly-run office and comms shop.

  • In recent months, Harris’ national security adviser, deputy chief of staff and speechwriter have left for various reasons.

The backdrop: Flournoy has worked in Democratic politics for decades, previously serving as chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton.

  • Voles served as former Vice President Al Gore’s communications director and as an advisor to Hillary Clinton in 2008.
  • Flournoy, Voles, and VP Harris have been coordinating the transition for several weeks, the White House official added.

The Washington Post first reported news of Flournoy’s departure.

What they’re saying: In a statement, Vice President Harris said she will continue to rely on Flournoy’s “advice, counsel and friendship.”

  • “Tina has been a valued advisor and confidant to me and tremendous leader for the office. 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 VP said.
  • White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain praised Flournoy as “a critical member of the White House team since day one” who helped the administration “deliver on critical priorities.”

What to watch: The midterm elections are only seven months away, and if President Biden decides against running for re-election, that will put greater scrutiny on how Harris’ office functions and who she surrounds herself with.


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