Eric Ting, SFGATE Dec. 6, 2021 (SFGate.com)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Tribal Nations Summit in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Washington. 
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Tribal Nations Summit in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Washington. Patrick Semansky/AP

A week after several high-profile departures from the office of Vice President Kamala Harris, the Washington Post published a larger story on Harris’ management skills based on interviews with “18 people connected to Harris.”

Many former staffers did not have nice things to say.

Gil Duran, who worked for Harris when she was California attorney general in 2013, quit after only five months, and now writes for the San Francisco Examiner, went on the record with harsh criticism.

“One of the things we’ve said in our little text groups among each other is what is the common denominator through all this and it’s her,” he said. “Who are the next talented people you’re going to bring in and burn through and then have (them) pretend they’re retiring for positive reasons.”

The Washington Post reported that “one consistent problem” staffers referenced was the fact that “Harris would refuse to wade into briefing materials prepared by staff members, then berate employees when she appeared unprepared.” It was this phenomenon that prompted a particularly biting quote by an anonymous former staffer.

“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” the staffer said. “With Kamala you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”

The story also contained a quote in defense of Harris from prominent Democratic strategist Sean Clegg, who most recently advised Gov. Gavin Newsom in September’s gubernatorial recall election. Clegg said that Harris faces a double standard as a woman.

“People personalize these things,” he said of those who were unhappy with Harris. “I’ve never had an experience in my long history with Kamala where I felt like she was unfair. Has she called bulls—t? Yes. And does that make people uncomfortable sometimes? Yes. But if she were a man with her management style, she would have a TV show called ‘The Apprentice.’”

The Washington Post story also touches on how those close to Harris fear that her style as a boss could complicate her future plans, which likely include another bid for the presidency in either 2024 or 2028. You can read the full report from the Washington Post.

Eric Ting is the editor of California Issues, SFGATE’s politics section. He is an East Bay native who has a Master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University. Eric did his undergrad at Pomona College, where he majored in politics and minored in economics. Email: eric.ting@sfgate.com

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