Harris’s communications director to depart next month

Vice President Harris’ communications director, Ashley Etienne, will be leaving her White House role next month, an official confirmed to The Hill on Thursday.

“Ashley is valued member of the Vice President’s team, who has worked tirelessly to advance the goals of this administration,” a White House official said in a statement. “She is leaving the office in December to pursue other opportunities.”

Her departure comes in the aftermath of multiple reports of frustration about how Harris is being used in the Biden administration. Harris’s 2020 presidential campaign was also reportedly marred by staffing issues, and she eventually withdrew from the race prior to the Iowa caucus.

Etienne joined the vice president’s team when Harris took office in January. She previously served as communications director for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and worked in the Obama administration before that.

The vice president’s office did not respond to a question about when Etienne decided to leave the job, but Vanity Fair reported it preceded a CNN report published Sunday that suggested there was a rift between Harris’s allies and some in the West Wing.

Another Politico report published earlier this week suggested Harris’s performance as vice president had thus far not scared off other Democrats who may consider running for president in 2024 if President Biden declines to seek another term.

Multiple White House officials came to Harris’s defense this week, praising the vice president as a trusted adviser to Biden and someone tasked with major responsibilities on challenging issues like voting rights and root causes of migration.

Over the weekend, Harris returned from a multi-day trip to Paris, which was generally considered a success. While there she met with French President Emmanuel Macron and delivered remarks at the Paris Peace Forum calling for nations to focus on equity.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday argued some of the critical coverage of Harris has been rooted in the fact that she is the first woman and first woman of color to serve as vice president.  

“It’s a lot to have on your shoulders,” Psaki said.

Tags Ashley Etienne Emmanuel Macron Jen Psaki Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi

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