10 Things in Politics: Kamala Harris' toxic work culture (2024)

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Here's what we're talking about:

  • Ex-Kamala Harris staffers recall a toxic culture in her past offices
  • Republicans are getting antsy about infrastructure
  • America's highest-ranking military officer reportedly worried Trump would stage a coup

With Phil Rosen.

10 Things in Politics: Kamala Harris' toxic work culture (1)

1. IN THE VEEP'S ORBIT: Some former Kamala Harris staffers have bad memories. They now feel vindicated by reports of a vice president's office full of dysfunction, a scene they say played out during her time as California attorney general, later in the Senate, and during her presidential run.

  • "​​Rarely in life are we publicly vindicated," a former staffer said of a Politico story detailing problems in the vice president's office. The staffer forwarded the report to their therapist, adding they sought help to "resolve trauma" after hearing that Harris had joined Biden on the ticket.

My colleague spoke to a dozen former Harris staffers about their experiences. Here's just a bit of what they said:

  • Some described a "toxic" culture that quickly churned through low-level aides: There was "a sense of paranoia in that office that you never knew when she was going to snap at you," one former aide said of Harris' time as attorney general.
  • Other staffers defended Harris, arguing that only a female politician would be subject to these types of stories: "It seems to me to be more gendered, the idea that strong women are b----es and she's just another one," one former staffer said. Top Biden White House officials have also emphasized the president's trust in her.
  • Harris also has a reputation for wanting to stick to the script: Staffers said her presidential campaign had to travel with a battery-powered printer for redoing note cards and briefing documents. One said they believed "a large part of why [Harris has] been so successful" was due to this approach.

Read what else former staffers say rings true in the stories about Harris.

2. Republicans are getting antsy about infrastructure: A growing number of Republican lawmakers are criticizing the bipartisan infrastructure deal, a concern for Democrats given they need GOP support to overcome a likely filibuster of the $579 billion package. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to take a public position, but some GOP lawmakers who previously backed the deal are now voicing concern. More on where things stand.


  • Democrats are readying $3.5 trillion in spending: Meet 13 experts deciding who gets the money.

3. The head of Haiti's presidential guard is in custody, report says: It's not clear what charges the top official is facing in the wake of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, killed last week in his home, The Washington Post reports. Last night police announced the arrest of two more people. The manhunt for those involved continues to grow.

10 Things in Politics: Kamala Harris' toxic work culture (2)

4.America's top military officer worried Trump would stage a coup, book says: Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, compared former President Trump's actions to Hitler, worrying Trump was pushing the US to "a Reichstag moment," according to a new book by two Washington Post reporters. Milley also told former First Lady Michelle Obama that no one had a "bigger smile" on Biden's inauguration day than he did. There's more on Trump's final days in the book.

  • Key quote: "They may try, but they're not going to f---ing succeed," Milley said of a coup attempt, according to the book, "I Alone Can Fix It." "You can't do this without the military. You can't do this without the CIA and the FBI. We're the guys with guns."


5. George W. Bush warns Biden on Afghan withdrawal: Former President Bush warned the consequences of ending America's longest war will be "unbelievably bad." Bush said he's "afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm." His interview with a German broadcaster is a rare break from his usual refusal to weigh in on US politics. Here's what else Bush said.

  • The White House will soon start evacuation flights: Potentially tens of thousands of Afghans are seeking special visas to go to the US, with categories for those who worked as translators or interpreters as well as those generally employed by the US or on its behalf.

6. The Fed isn't changing its tune yet: US stocks crept upward after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers that the US job market "is still a ways off" from the central bank's goals, hinting that he won't make monetary adjustments anytime soon. But the economic recovery is still moving — banks are posting strong earnings, gold is rising, and stocks are looking good.

7. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is hawking anti-Fauci merch: The DeSantis campaign team rolled out T-shirts and koozies reading "Don't Fauci My Florida," the latest Republican stunt against COVID-19 measures as cases, deaths, hospitalizations rise in the state. This isn't the first time DeSantis has attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci.

8.Watchdog says the FBI seriously mishandled Larry Nassar's case:"The FBI made numerous serious errors in investigating allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar and didn't treat the case with the 'utmost seriousness,'" per an internal Department of Justice review. At least 40 girls and women said they were molested over a 14-month period while the FBI was aware of other sexual abuse allegations involving Nassar. The report raises even more concerns about the investigation.

10 Things in Politics: Kamala Harris' toxic work culture (3)

9. Britney Spears has a victory in her legal battle: Spears is able to pick her own lawyer for the first time in her 13-year conservatorship. Her new attorney, ​​Mathew Rosengart, has represented high-profile celebrities before and is a former federal prosecutor. Spears also spoke again about what her life has been like. "It's not just abuse, it's f---ing cruelty," she said of the conservatorship.

RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images, Courtesy of Mikah Meyer

10. Planning a trip to a national park?: You'll probably encounter long lines and heavy foot traffic. To beat the crowds, try visiting a national park recommended by someone who visited all 423 of them, including one that "sort of feels like you're on the moon."

Today's trivia question: Today is Twitter's birthday. Do you know the name of the social network's bird in their logo? Hint: He shares it with someone famous. Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@businessinsider.com.


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