Kamala Harris aide says in resignation letter: ‘I’ve never seen staff treated so poorly’

An aide to Sen. Kamala Harris blasted the treatment of staff on the California Democrat’s presidential campaign in a resignation letter this month. 

“This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” wrote state operations director Kelly Mehlenbacher in the Nov. 11 letter, which was obtained by The New York Times

“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,” she added. 

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She wrote that the way staff was treated during the past two weeks was “the final straw in this very difficult decision.”

“It is not acceptable to me that we encouraged people to move from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore only to lay them off with no notice, with no plan for the campaign, and without thoughtful consideration of the personal consequences to them or the consequences that their absence would have on the remaining staff,” Mehlenbacher’s letter said. “It is unacceptable that we would lay off anyone that we hired only weeks earlier. It is unacceptable that with less than 90 days until Iowa we still do not have a real plan to win.

“Our campaign For the People is made up of diverse talent which is being squandered by indecision and a ‘lack of leaders who will lead,'” it continued. 

Mehlenbacher’s resignation becomes effective on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who has endorsed Harris, criticized some top aides and called for the firing of campaign manager Juan Rodriguez in an interview with The Times. 

“I have told her there needs to be a change,” Fudge said. “The weakness is at the top. And it’s clearly Juan. He needs to take responsibility — that’s where the buck stops.”

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The newspaper noted that Harris declined to be interviewed. 

Rodriguez said in a statement to the Times that “our team, from the candidate to organizers across the country, are working day in and out to make sure Kamala is the nominee to take on Donald Trump and end the national nightmare that is his presidency.

“Just like every campaign, we have made tough decisions to have the resources we need to place in Iowa and springboard into the rest of the primary calendar,” Rodriguez added. 

The Hill has also reached out to the campaign for additional comment. 

Harris’s campaign has cut staff in New Hampshire and Baltimore in recent weeks, and redeployed others to Iowa. The senator has also recently struggled to gain momentum in the polls. 

She is among more than a dozen people running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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