Peter Velz, Harris’ director of press operations, shared news of his departure from the White House, which was first reported
by Politico, in a series of tweets
“Today is my last day at the White House, and it truly has been an honor. I will be forever grateful to Vice President Harris, the incredible Team @VP, and I’m so proud of our work this past year supporting this historic Administration,” Velz wrote. “The White House is an amazing place to work — you’re surrounded by the most selfless, smart, hard-working people everyday doing their best to serve the American people. And it has has [sic] been an absolute joy.”
Velz said he was leaving the White House to join the protocol team at the State Department, where he said he’s “excited to continue supporting the @VP and @POTUS for their meetings with foreign leaders, delegations, and international travel.”
Vincent Evans, who serves as Harris’ deputy director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, also announced he will move to the Congressional Black Caucus, where he’ll serve as executive director.
“I am deeply honored to be named the Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus,” Evans tweeted Wednesday
. “As we write the next chapter of the CBC story, I am excited for the opportunity to lend my experience and passion for supporting the collective vision of this storied Caucus. Onward.”
The departures are the latest in a series of exits by staffers in the vice president’s office, including chief spokesperson and senior adviser Symone Sanders
and communications director Ashley Etienne
. News of each departure followed a myriad of reports, including by CNN,
of staff infighting and dysfunction.
Asked last month
if the recent staff resignations were indicative of a greater trend within her office, Harris declined to weigh in, focusing instead on praising Sanders before adding succinctly, “Next question.”
In November, CNN reported
that several people on the vice president’s staff had started to reach out to contacts to say they’re looking to leave, according to sources who’ve gotten calls, while many in the vice president’s orbit have expressed frustration that Harris has not being adequately prepared or positioned by the White House and instead is being sidelined.
Still, staff shakeups after the first year of an administration are not unprecedented, nor unique to Harris’ office.
In an interview with David Axelrod last May, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced her plans to leave the administration after the first year, later telling CNN’s Don Lemon, “I think at a certain point it’s time to have other people serve in these jobs and roles, and have this front seat to history. And I’m hopeful that part of what I can do in this job is help build that up and help give people opportunity, and lift up some new voices and faces.”