VP Kamala Harris’ Communications Director Resigns Amid Growing Criticism

Image By Lawrence Jackson – Official Portrait – Kamala Harris

Ashley Etienne has resigned as VP Kamala Harris’ communications director, amid growing criticism from her boss and Senate Democrats over Etienne’s performance in that role. Etienne had been named by VP Harris to serve as a senior adviser and communications director for both her Senate office and PAC following a brief stint as a senior advisor to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., after leaving Pelosi’s team for a brief stint at Uber.

As VP Harris’ communications director, she was tasked with outreach to local, state, and national media outlets as well as preparing material for social media posts. It’s unclear why she resigned or if she is leaving altogether from politics or public affairs now.

Ashley Etienne, who served as communications director for VP Biden, has resigned amid growing criticism of her performance. The comms director was appointed in early 2016. Prior to working for VP Biden, she served as press secretary for Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). She is a member of Team Pocahontas – How much does that team really mean to you?

But it comes just days after VP Harris warned Etienne in an email sent out to staffers that recent false statements made about me were particularly disappointing because they were inaccurate, not credible and clearly intended to harm me. The email continued: That kind of behavior is wholly inconsistent with our values and we cannot allow it within our operation —and I certainly won’t stand for it. The appropriate next step would be resignation.

Many believe that I have no control over my image, but they’re wrong. Of course, I have control over my image—what makes people think otherwise? When I say no to an interview, it is because that interview does not further my interests. Next time you see me interviewed on TV or speaking at a rally, know that every word was carefully chosen to be sure it’s what I want you to hear. Those who fail to understand how communications works should find another profession.

The future of our country depends on our ability to communicate effectively and that requires staying in control of your message at all times, which obviously takes practice and training. The best PR pros spend hours practicing their elevator pitch and even more hours thinking about what suits them best: Should she be seen as serious and thoughtful with minimal warmth? Or should she appear bubbly and quirky instead? This, too, is a strategy meant to make her seem approachable without having her come off as phony.

Would love to be a fly on the wall in Vice President Kamala Harris’s office. Will more of her team resign following the resignation of Ashley Etienne? Last week, CNN reporter Jim Acosta tweeted that three members of staff had resigned from Harris’ communications team after friction between them and other staffers grew too hot to handle. I asked @AshleyEtienne why she left VP Biden’s comms shop today; she replied, ‘it was time for me to go.’

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