OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The White House has experienced unprecedented departures under President Joe Biden. According to a new report, First Lady Jill Biden’s office is now undergoing massive turnover as a top aide has departed.
Elizabeth Alexander, Jill Biden’s communications director, will take a brief leave of absence to lead the “messaging arm” of President Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign.
“The move speaks to how Biden’s campaign is still taking shape, one week after he announced he would seek another term. The campaign announced only two staff hires on its first day: campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez and principal deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks,” NBC News reported.
“Since 2006, Elizabeth has been a steadfast advisor to President Biden and the first lady. Her deep communications knowledge and expertise will serve the campaign well — helping stand up a campaign communication team that will reach voters where they are across all forms of media while staying true to who Joe Biden is,” Anita Dunn, a Biden adviser, said in a statement.
Alexander is not the only departure from Jill Biden’s office.
Rory Brosius, who has been running the Joining Forces project, left her post last week. Sheila Casey, the wife of former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, will take over for Brosius.
“As a young military spouse walking into the East Wing to intern for Joining Forces in August of 2012 to joining the Biden-Harris Administration on day one to stand up Joining Forces, this has been the journey of a lifetime,” Brosius said in her message.
A Brookings Institution study found that the turnover rate of Biden’s top-level aides is at the second highest since former President Ronald Reagan was in office. The study found that 21 “A-Team staffers” were gone after two years.
The Brookings Institution report notes that Vice President Kamala Harris’ office has had extremely high turnover.
Harris, in particular, has had difficulty retaining staffers, reportedly due to an abusive work environment.
The Washington Post published a report that included interviews with then-current and former staffers, many on the condition of anonymity, who gave some candid responses to what it is like working for Harris.
“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” a former staffer said to The Post. “With Kamala, you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”
Last year, a report said that some staffers believed her office was abusive.
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” a person that Politico claims knows how her office works, said. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—.”
The report added that members of President Biden’s staff have noticed and are concerned about how members of Harris’ team are treated.
What’s more concerning is that reports have emerged that Jill Biden could be positioning herself as the commander-in-chief.
Fox News opinion columnist Liz Peek suggested in an op-ed that as President Biden’s mental faculties decline, the first lady could become more of the de facto president.
“She weighs in regularly on the president’s schedule and presentation and has frequently been caught on camera steering Joe away from pesky reporters. Dr. Jill has apparently become more assertive. According to an NBC News analysis last fall, Jill has carried Joe’s message to more places more frequently than Joe himself. NBC reports she wields ‘unparalleled influence’ in the White House. Last year she burst into a meeting of Joe’s top aides, furious that they had allowed him to take questions at a news conference for nearly two hours. She evidently does not think Joe can stand up to two hours of inquisition,” Peek wrote in her opinion piece.