Could Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison be looking to leave his post prior to the midterms?
According to an NBC News report chock-full of descriptions of tensions between Harrison and President Joe Biden’s White House, Harrison has considered it.
“Harrison has been frustrated enough to consider an escape route to depart before the midterms, when Republicans are expected to make gains in Congress, according to two people with knowledge of the situation,” the outlet reported Saturday.
Harrison’s comments to NBC emphasized his goal of serving out his four-year term “but left room for uncertainty,” the report said.
“That’s my goal,” Harrison said. “I made a commitment to the president.”
So what, exactly, is the trouble between Harrison and the Biden administration? Harrison seems to be frustrated with the “limits of his influence,” while the White House wished he would get out on the road to raise money and rally the troops (i.e. DNC staffers) in Washington, D.C., according to NBC, who cited multiple unnamed sources.
Not helping matters is the fact that no one seems to know how to reverse Biden’s approval ratings slide.
Many of NBC’s insider sources “said there’s blame on both sides,” adding that “the White House’s political arm is described as overbearing to a point that it isn’t empowering its chair, while Harrison is characterized as not only having demonstrated a misunderstanding of his duties but as too reluctant to travel beyond Columbia, South Carolina, where he lives with his wife and children,” according to the outlet.
“There’s blame to be shared,” a person described as being “familiar with the dynamics” of the situation said. “Has he demonstrated that he’s going to move heaven and earth to raise money and defend the administration? No. But it’s pretty impossible to defend what’s happening and not happening.”
According to the report, Harrison’s preference for staying home is a sore spot for the White House.
“His decision to stay closer to home has been a source of frustration to the White House, which would prefer him to have a more public-facing role, several people with knowledge of the dynamic said,” NBC reported. “Citing Covid and his young kids, he isn’t flying cross-country to Los Angeles or to New York to woo donors, they say.”
“He’s also not spending time at DNC headquarters in Washington, which is open to staff on a voluntary basis and where visits could help boost morale for those who are going into the office during the pandemic,” the outlet added.
Other sources, however, pinned the blame for the fractured relationship on the White House.
“Several current and former state party chairs as well as numerous party operatives expressed deep affection for Harrison, citing longtime relationships with him and describing him as savvy and kind. They said the White House would be wise to elevate Harrison’s political know-how instead of icing him out,” NBC said.
“They also expressed frustration with White House’s political lieutenants, describing them as absent, unresponsive and lacking the human touch needed to build support in battleground states and turn around Biden’s lagging numbers.”
The report went on to muse on whether Harrison will step down before Election Day.
“The big question is whether he gets out before the curtain comes down in November,” one Democratic Party official said.