Symone Sanders: Kamala Harris’s top adviser to leave White House after rumours of rift

She had served the Joe Biden administration for three years

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Thursday 02 December 2021 11:29
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<p>Symone Sanders, the chief spokesperson and senior adviser to vice president Kamala Harris</p>

Symone Sanders, the chief spokesperson and senior adviser to vice president Kamala Harris

Symone Sanders, the chief spokesperson and senior adviser to vice president Kamala Harris, is leaving the White House at the end of the year.

The 31-year-old has served the Biden administration for three years, beginning with the 2020 presidential campaign. Ms Sanders was also the national press secretary for senator Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“Symone has served honourably for three years,” a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

“The president and vice president are grateful for Symone's service and advocacy for this White House. She is a valued member, a team player, and she will be missed. We are grateful to have her working through the end of the year,” the person said.

In a note to staff, Ms Sanders confirmed her exit.

“I’m so grateful to the VP for her vote of confidence from the very beginning and the opportunity to see what can be unburdened by what has been,” the note, obtained by Politico, read.

She added: “Every day, I arrived to the White House complex knowing our work made a tangible difference for Americans. I am immensely grateful and will miss working for her and with all of you.”

This decision comes days after a detailed report about rising frustrations among the vice president’s team about the lack of clarity of Ms Harris’ role in the administration.

The report, which interviewed dozens of figures close to the vice president in various roles, paints a picture of a White House rattled by recent political battles.

Those close to the vice president are concerned that Ms Harris would be underprepared for her role in the 2024 elections, if she decides to run for the president’s chair.

A person, who CNN did not name but described as a “top donor” to Mr Biden and the Democratic Party, said: “Kamala Harris is a leader but is not being put in positions to lead. That doesn't make sense. We need to be thinking long term, and we need to be doing what's best for the party.”

Ms Sanders had said that some in the media “focused on gossip – not on the results that the President and the Vice President have delivered” for the American people.

However, Bakari Sellers, a friend of Ms Sanders and a civil rights attorney, said that she was “hurt” after the job of White House press secretary went to Jen Psaki.

She is the second staff member to announce her departure from the White House in a short span of time.

Earlier in November, the vice president’s communications director Ashley Etienne decided to leave her post to pursue “other opportunities”.

She had served the Barack Obama administration and held the post of a senior adviser to both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, before transitioning to the vice president’s team after the 2020 elections.

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