Even with the predictable media fawning we've seen over her since Joe Biden picked her as his running mate last summer, Vice President Kamala Harris still cannot escape from some of the less than flattering coverage she's received in her first nine months in office regarding her disastrous handling of the border crisis, the rampant stories on how she's difficult to work with and has trouble retaining staff, and her skewed priorities.
With her polling numbers tanking and with the bad press continuing into the fall, it would appear that Harris has finally conceded that her office is in crisis mode. As a result, she made two hires last month – with one being a crisis communications expert:
Lorraine Voles was one of two hires, along with former Obama speechwriter Adam Frankel, reported by both the Washington Post and CNN over the weekend. Both worked for the vice president during the transition, and “offered to be of assistance,” an official from the White House said. A Harris aide said Voles and Frankel began their new roles in August.
Although the White House official didn't use the word “crisis,” Voles is well known as a public relations and crisis communications expert. She most recently led crisis communications at George Washington University and at Fannie Mae, after serving as a strategist and adviser to Hillary Clinton's 2006 Senate reelection race and 2008 presidential bid. In the late '90s, she helped Al Gore craft his message as vice president. Now she'll help Harris with long-term planning, her policy agenda and with “organizational development” and strategic communications, according to a White House official.
The assignment is “temporary,” the official said, although Harris' office declined to say how long either she or Frankel planned to advise the vice president.
The “about” page on Voles' website lists her as “a highly accomplished executive communications leader who is highly skilled in strategic and crisis communications, executive coaching, organizational development, leadership training, and media and public relations.” Several Democrat movers and shakers interviewed by Politico praised Voles, noting that she was a go-to person for politicos who are facing a public relations crisis.
While it wasn't noted in any of the write-ups about these new hires as to exactly when the decision was made to bring them on, my guess is that the final straw for Harris was when Biden gave a speech late last month where he couldn't explain why he picked her to be his running mate in the first place:
You know, I can say as much as I want — from the time my two daughters were born — that you can do anything a man can do. It's one thing for somebody to say that and keep pounding that in the head of your five granddaughters as well. But guess what? Until they see it, until they watch, it becomes real then.
That's why, by the way, she's — and happens to be in Asia for me right now — but that's why we have a female Vice President of United States of America who's going to be — we're going to have some presidents pretty soon.
I mean when your boss has forgotten why he brought you on in the first place, you know it's bad.
Whether or not his comments at the time were a momentary lapse for Biden, as I've said before, Kamala Harris is just not good at what she does. And judging by her polling numbers and her hiring of a crisis comms manager, it looks like even she realizes that now, too.