A top aide to Kamala Harris spoke out against what she calls “poor” treatment of staff in a newly surfaced resignation letter, underscoring the turmoil that has reportedly struck the campaign.
Kelly Mehlenbacher served as director of state operations for the presidential campaign of the California Democratic Senator but she resigned on November 11. In a letter obtained by The New York Times, Melenbacher said that she has never seen such poor treatment of staff during her time in presidential politics. Melenbacher said that this treatment was a key factor in her decision to resign from the campaign.
“This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” Mehlenbacher wrote.
“While I still believe that Senator Harris is the strongest candidate to win in the General Election in 2020, I no longer have confidence in our campaign or its leadership.”
Melenbacher accused the campaign of encouraging staffers to move to Baltimore only to “lay them off with no notice” and no plan for the campaign or how to win in Iowa in a few weeks. Harris, once seen as a potential frontrunner to the nomination in the months before the campaigning began, has been under scrutiny for her apparent lack of gameplan in the upcoming primary.
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who endorsed Harris, told The New York Times that there is “weakness at the top” of the campaign and called for the firing of campaign manager Juan Rodriguez.
The New York Times report on the campaign disarray appeared to be supported by the Washington Post, which also reported on her foundering campaign. It took note of a recent trip to South Carolina, where Harris told the crowd that the state was becoming like a second home — then added that Iowa was, too. The report noted that the response was “typical of Harris and her campaign,” which displayed their desire to “be everything to everyone.”
“As a result, her candidacy is now teetering, weighed down by indecision within her campaign, her limits as a candidate and dwindling funds that have forced her to retreat in some places at a moment she expected to be surging,” the report noted.
The report added that after Harris won high marks during last week’s debate in Atlanta, her advisers hoped it would lead to a surge in donations so the campaign could air a new ad. That has not yet happened.