Senior adviser and chief spokesperson for U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Symone Sanders, is leaving the White House according to close sources from the White House.
Sanders’ departure comes weeks after Ashley Ettiene, VP Harris’ communications director announced her exit and months following reports of infighting in the Vice President’s office.
According to CNN, a source says that Sanders’ leaving had nothing to do with rumors of dysfunction.
“Symone has served honorably for three years,” the source told CNN. “The President and vice president are grateful for Symone’s service and advocacy for this White House. She is a valued member, a team player, and she will be missed. We are grateful to have her working through the end of the year.”
Sanders, a 31-year-old African American political strategist, joined the White House from Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, on which she served as a senior adviser. She was also the national press secretary for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign and was a political analyst for CNN prior to joining Biden’s campaign.
During her time in the vice president’s office, Sanders helped lead messaging for Harris, who has been tasked with what allies and supporters view as a thorny portfolio. Adding another dimension to Sanders’ efforts, Harris — who has been dogged with messaging challenges since her unsuccessful presidential campaign — has publicly fumbled the White House’s message during her time as vice president.
In a letter shared with CNN, Sanders referenced her departure.
“I’m so grateful to the VP for her vote of confidence from the very beginning and the opportunity to see what can be unburdened by what has been,” the letter stated, according to CNN. “I’m grateful for Tina and her leadership and her confidence as well. Every day, I arrived to the White House complex knowing our work made a tangible difference for Americans. I am immensely grateful and will miss working for her and with all of you.”
According to NBC News, Sanders’ next move wasn’t shared. In her memoir, “No, You Shut Up,” she wrote that one day she wanted to be White House press secretary.
The vice president’s office has made some recent hires for communications, CNN reports, with Lorraine Voles, a crisis communications specialist, and Adam Frankel, a former Obama speechwriter. Harris has also undergone several media training sessions over the last year, according to CNN’s sources.