Longtime Kamala Harris associates shut out as Chief of Staff exercises tight control

CNBC:

  • Kamala Harris’ chief of staff has effectively shut out several longtime political and business world allies of the vice president, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • As Tina Flournoy exerts her power as a gatekeeper to the vice president, several of Harris’ allies outside the federal government are struggling to get their calls returned.
  • Some of these same advisors and donors are trying other routes, including by attempting to speak with Douglas Emhoff, the vice president’s husband.

Kamala Harris’ chief of staff has effectively shut out several of the vice president’s longtime political and business world allies as the Biden administration contends with several challenges, including battles over voting rights and the border, according to people familiar with the matter.

Harris has not been returning phone calls to people who have considered themselves members of her inner circle, including donors and people who supported her Senate and White House runs, according to some of the people with knowledge of the situation. 

Under chief of staff Tina Flournoy’s watch, Harris speaks regularly to President Joe Biden, her family members, a tight group of friends, and her strategists, these people said. The people declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Yet as Flournoy, who built a tough reputation while working for former President Bill Clinton, exerts her power as a gatekeeper to the vice president, several of Harris’ allies outside the federal government are struggling to get their calls returned after years of regularly being in touch with her, some of these people said.

A person familiar with Flournoy’s handling of incoming communication with these associates says she sometimes starts a conversation asking, “What is it that you want from the vice president?” If the person wants to just say hello and have a brief conversation, Flournoy says that time will come at future private events.

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