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Biden-Harris staff exodus: At least 25 key staffers have departed from senior White House roles since 2021

A little more than a year and a half since taking office, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have witnessed several shakeups among key members of their staff, with more than 25 individuals leaving their roles with the administration to pursue other careers.

On Wednesday, just months before the midterm elections, the White House announced that Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s communications director and a key strategist for his campaign for the presidency, would be departing from the White House later this month, adding to the string of departures from the West Wing.

Since his tenure in the White House began in January 2021, Biden has witnessed several senior officials leave their positions for other career opportunities. 

Notable departures include former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who resigned in May for a gig at MSNBC and had served Biden since he took office, as well as Cedric Richmond, who also resigned in May after serving as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement since Biden took office.

WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR KATE BEDINGFIELD STEPPING DOWN

In addition to Psaki and Richmond, other key players in the Biden White House who have resigned this year are Dana Remus, White House counsel and assistant to Biden who resigned in June; David Kamin, deputy director for the National Economic Council and deputy assistant to Biden who resigned in May; Pili Tobar, deputy director of communications and special assistant to Biden who resigned in May; Jeff Zients, who served as coordinator for COVID-19 response, as well as counselor to the president, resigned in April; and Eric Lander, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science, resigned in February.

Other departures include TJ Ducklo, who served as deputy press secretary, as well as special assistant to the president, who resigned in February 2021; Anita Dunn, who served as chief strategist and senior adviser to Biden, who resigned in August 2021 and later returned to the White House to work for Biden in April 2022; Jessica Hurtz, who served as White House staff secretary and deputy assistant to Biden resigned in October 2021; and Cathy Russell, who served as director of the White House office of presidential personnel and as an assistant to the president, resigned in December 2021.

President Joe Biden speaks about gas prices in the South Court Auditorium at the White House campus on June 22, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

WHITE HOUSE BRACING FOR STAFF DEPARTURES AHEAD OF MIDTERMS

Vice President Harris has also witnessed a staff exodus over the course of her short time in office, losing at least 13 members of her staff who held influential roles. Notable departures from Harris’ office include Sabrina Singh, who served as Harris’ deputy press secretary and resigned in March, and Tina Flournoy, who served as Harris’ chief of staff and resigned in April.

Other notable departures from Harris’ office this year include Vincent Evans, who served as the deputy director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs and resigned in January; Peter Velz, who served as director of press operations and also resigned in January; Kate Childs Graham, who served as Harris’ chief speechwriter and resigned in February; Nancy McEldowney, who served as Harris’ national security adviser and resigned in March; and Michael Fuchs, who served as Harris’ deputy chief of staff and resigned in April.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks onstage during the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 2, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Harris also lost a string of staff members during her first year as vice president, including Karly Satkowiak, who served as Harris’ director of advance until June 2021; Gabrielle DeFranceschi, who served as deputy director of advance and also resigned in June; Rajan Kaur, who served as director of digital strategy and left his role in June 2021; Sarah Gouda, who served as deputy director of speechwriting and resigned her role in November 2021; Ashley Etienne, who served as Harris’ communications chief and resigned in November 2021; and Symone Sanders, who served as a senior advisor and chief spokesperson for Harris until her resignation in December 2021.

While the departures from the Biden-Harris administration do not top that of former President Donald Trump’s administration, they are significant in the fact that they accompany Biden’s poor approval ratings and missteps during the first half of his term in the White House.

Amid record-high inflation and gasoline prices, partnered with his rocky withdrawal from Afghanistan and his handling of the crisis along the southern Border, Biden has witnessed his approval among Americans decline.

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