Vice President Kamala Harris’ communications director is leaving her post as the Veep and White House offices.
Vanity Fair was the first to answer the departure of Ashley Etienne, while several outlets quoted a White House official as reporting that her resignation would take effect next month.
The official said Etienne was leaving the administration to “pursue other opportunities” but did not elaborate.
The departure of Etienne – a former campaign advisor to Biden who was also spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – comes days after CNN reported that Harris was increasingly sidelined in administration and her working relationship with President Biden will become an “exhausted stalemate”.
On Thursday, Harris tried to disperse the report, denying ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that she felt, as the host put it, “abused or underused”.
However, those close to Harris have suggested that the first woman and black woman to become Vice President have been entrusted with politically damaging issues – like the ongoing border crisis – and have not received the level of support other members of the Administration received.
“I’m very, very excited about the work we’ve done,” Harris told Stephanopoulos. “But I am also absolutely, absolutely clear that there is still a lot to be done and that we will make it.”
During the week the White House and Vice President’s office defended Harris, calling the report “gossip.”
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki described Harris as a “valuable member of the team.”
“I know the president is relying on her advice and advice,” said Psaki, adding. “She’s not looking for a comfortable role here – it’s not a vice-president, or a president.”
Harris spokeswoman Symone Sanders dismissed the report as “gossip”.
“It is unfortunate that after a productive trip to France reaffirming our relationship with America’s oldest ally and demonstrating US leadership on the world stage, and after passing an historic, non-partisan infrastructure bill that will create jobs and empower our communities will, some in the media are focused on gossip – not on the results that the President and Vice President have delivered, “Sanders said on Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, polls show that Harris is even less popular than the unpopular Biden. A recent USA Today / Suffolk University poll found Biden had an approval rating of 37.8 percent. Harris’ approval rating was, however, 10 points lower at 27.8 percent.