A top aide to First Lady Jill Biden has been accused of behaviour so “toxic” he’s reduced White House staffers to tears.
In a report byPolitico, Anthony Bernal was described as the “most powerful person” in Ms Biden’s office. The report quoted numerous staffers, colleagues and campaign aides who painted a painted an ugly picture of Mr Bernal’s work conduct.
The adviser to the first lady is said to have called people ‘stupid’ in meetings on more than one occasion, and routinely berated others. Many said he talked about colleagues behind their backs, and was trusted by no-one.
According to sources, his behaviour has been so unpleasant that staffers went as far as to compare him to Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada or Littlefinger from Game of Thrones.
The First Lady’s chief of staff, Julissa Reynoso, released a staunch defence of Mr Bernal, which read: “Anthony’s loyalty to our team and the first family is unrivalled, and he holds himself, and all of us, to the highest standards.”
“There is no one at the White House with a bigger heart than Anthony, which is one of several reasons why so many in the First Lady’s office have worked with him for years. He cares deeply about the personal and professional growth of his colleagues.”
Mr Bernal has worked for the Bidens since Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and many sources acknowledged his effectiveness. One official said he was “warm”, “generous”, and “brilliant”, but added he was “as quick with a compliment as he is with a critique”.
Another former colleague said Mr Bernal was “the most loyal staffer I’ve ever seen” but said “even if you’re his friend, you know he’ll talk s*** about you.”
Asked about the Politico report at a White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “I’ve worked with him now over the last six months, even as a newbie into the Biden orbit, the individual named by anonymous source. He has been nothing but supportive and communicative and that’s been my experience.”
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