Washington (AFP) – The White House confirmed Thursday that Kamala Harris’s chief spokeswoman will be leaving the job at the end of the year, at a time when the vice president is hitting a patch of political turbulence.
Confirming press reports, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said there had been an announcement “about Symone Sanders departing” and noted that “she’ll always be a part of this Biden-Harris family, and it’s only natural after a couple of years to be ready for something new.”
“Working in the first year of a White House is exciting and rewarding, but it’s also grueling and exhausting,” Psaki said. “It’s all of those things at once.”
She added that such departures were “also an opportunity, as it is in any White House, to bring in new faces, new voices and new perspectives.”
Harris, pressed about the departure on Thursday, said, “I love Symone.”
“I can’t wait to see what she will do next. I know that it’s been three years jumping on and off planes going around the country,” she said.
Psaki declined to comment on media reports that Harris’s communications director Ashley Etienne might also be leaving.
The vice president is going through a difficult period politically, with media reports that she is struggling to find her place in the White House while also being charged with particularly delicate issues such voting access for minorities and the migration crisis on the southern border.
Her team has reportedly been laboring under internal tensions and suffering from strained relations with members of President Joe Biden’s team.
In Washington, political commentators have started to speculate openly about the vice president’s political future.
Harris made history by becoming the first woman, as well as the first Black person and Asian person, to hold the vice presidential post, which in theory could make her heir to 79-year-old Biden in an upcoming presidential election