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In the last year, the White House lost 21 Black staffers and more are planning to leave, per a POLITICO report. Many began leaving after Vice President Kamala Harris’ senior adviser Symone Sanders left for MSNBC. Now it seems the diversity of the White House staff may be in dwindling.
More of Harris’ senior aides left including Tina Flournoy, Ashley Etienne, Vincent Evans and Cedric Richmond. There are even more from the Biden administration who are looking to leave.
Public engagement aide Carissa Smith, gender policy aide Kalisha Dessources Figures, National Security Council senior director Linda Etim, digital engagement director Cameron Trimble, associate counsel Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo, chief of staff Ron Klain advisers Elizabeth Wilkins and Niyat Mulugheta, press assistant Natalie Austin, National Economic Council aides Joelle Gamble and Connor Maxwell, and presidential personnel aides Danielle Okai, Reggie Greer and Rayshawn Dyson have all departed too. Deputy White House counsel Danielle Conley and Council of Economic Advisers aide Saharra Griffin are among others planning to leave in the coming weeks, according to White House officials.
As expected, there is now a concern over the diversity of the White House staff. The Biden administration previously prided itself on having many Black staffers in all areas of the White House, particularly the Cabinet. However, one White House official insisted their reputation remains as 14 percent of the staff is Black and expected to increase, per POLITICO. Also, 15 percent of Black staffers have been promoted. Though, some are discouraged by the “Blaxit’’ which it’s been nicknamed.
“Black voters accounted for 22 percent of President Biden’s voters in November 2020. It is essential that Black staffers are not only recruited to serve in senior, mid-level and junior White House positions, but are also included in major policy and personnel decisions and have opportunities for advancement,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.