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Symone Sanders, Kamala Harris' spokeswoman, to leave the White House

2021-12-02T18:39:14.617Z

Sanders, a spokeswoman for US Vice President Kamala Harris, will leave Joe Biden's administration at the end of the year, according to a source familiar with the decision.



Kamala Harris makes US history for this reason 0:58

(CNN) -

Symone Sanders, the main spokesperson and adviser to US Vice President Kamala Harris, will leave Joe Biden's administration at the end of the year, according to a source familiar with the decision.

"Symone has served honorably for three years," the source told CNN.

"The President and Vice President are grateful for Symone's service and advocacy in this White House. She is a valued member, a team player, and will be missed. We are grateful to have her working until the end of the year."

Sanders acknowledged his departure in a letter to colleagues Wednesday shared with CNN, in which he thanked Harris Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy.

"I am very grateful to the vice president for her vote of confidence from the beginning and for the opportunity to see what can be without the weight of what has been," the letter said.

"I am also grateful to Tina, her leadership, and her trust. Every day I came to the White House compound knowing that our work made a tangible difference to Americans. I am immensely grateful and will miss working for her and with all of you."

His long-awaited departure is the second for Harris communications staff in recent weeks.

Last month, a White House official told CNN that the vice president's communications director, Ashley Etienne, was leaving to seek "other opportunities."

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News of each of the departures came after endless reports, including from CNN, about infighting and staff malfunctions.

However, the source ruled out that Sanders' departure had anything to do with reports of dysfunction, and said it was the right time for him to leave.

Harris had known for a long time that Sanders was leaving, according to a second familiar source.

  • Exasperation and Dysfunction: Kamala Harris's Frustrating Start as Vice President of the United States

Who is Symone Sanders?

Anita Dunn, a former Biden aide, praised Sanders as "an extraordinary talent" in an interview with CNN Wednesday night.

"Symone has worked at the highest level and in an extraordinarily intense environment for three years for Joe Biden. And now for Vice President Harris as well," Dunn said.

"When you look at three years, two in the campaign, one in the White House, no one can question his decision that he needs a break and that it's time to move on. And he will always be a member of the Biden-Harris family."

Sanders, a 31-year-old African-American political strategist, joined the White House since Joe Biden's presidential campaign in 2020, where she served as a senior adviser.

She was also the national press secretary for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign and was a political analyst for CNN before joining Biden's campaign.

During her tenure in the vice president's office, Sanders helped direct messaging for Harris, who has been tasked with what allies and supporters see as a thorny agenda.

Adding another dimension to Sanders' efforts, Harris - who has been beset with messaging challenges since her unsuccessful presidential campaign - has publicly muddled the White House message during her time as vice president.

Damage control

In February, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin expressed frustration at a television interview Harris did in his home state to promote the American Rescue Plan, suggesting that the government failed to notify him.

During her first trip abroad, Harris - who is spearheading diplomatic efforts to curb migration from the Northern Triangle - had to grapple with the repercussions of her response about why she had not previously visited the US-Mexico border as vice president. .

And over the summer, the White House had to dive into damage control following reports of malfunctions within Harris's staff.

The interview in which he made the border comment came after Harris participated in an extensive media training session to improve his delivery and presentation in interviews and speeches.

That training had been one of several sessions last year, according to multiple sources.

In September, the vice president's office also tried to contain the consequences of Harris's lack of response in an exchange with a student who called Israel's actions towards the Palestinians "an ethnic genocide and a displacement of people."

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Being discarded "hurt"

Since miscommunication, the vice president's office has hired two communication veterans - Lorraine Voles, a crisis communications specialist, and Adam Frankel, a former Obama speechwriter - to focus their efforts on "organizational development. , strategic communications and long-term planning, "according to the White House.

Sanders had already made her ambitions known in the White House, writing in her 2020 memoir, "No, You Shut Up," "One day I want to be a White House press secretary."

Bakari Sellers, a friend of Sanders', told the Washington Post this past spring that the decision to make Jen Psaki the White House press secretary "stung" Sanders and that being dismissed "hurt."

Harris's team is likely to see other exits over time.

"The offices are being reconstituted. Symone is not the last person to leave the White House," Dunn told CNN.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond, Arlette Saenz and Rachel Janfaza contributed to this report.

Kamala harris

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-12-02

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