Douglas Andrews / January 10, 2022

Kamala’s New Comms Guy

It seems that no one likes working for our current vice president, but Jamal Simmons is gonna give it a whirl.

If only Kamala Harris’s free-fall in the polls were a simple matter of messaging, her hiring last week of Jamal Simmons as her new communications director might help nudge the needle back in the right direction.

But it isn’t, so it won’t.

No, the vice president’s historic unpopularity is far more likely the byproduct of her Bay Area leftism, her condescending personality, her horrible management skills, and her nails-across-the-chalkboard cackle — none of which can be solved by better branding and more polished press releases.

But Simmons has one thing going for him: There’s nowhere to go but up. Indeed, a vice president has never been as unpopular as her boss. How on earth does a Funeral Czar ever hit 28% in job approval without clubbing baby seals?

Harris’s no good, very bad week began with a since-deleted tweet touting the Biden administration’s as-yet unspent $1.2 trillion infrastructure boondoggle. “Because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” it read, “America is moving again. That’s what infrastructure is all about: getting people moving.”

Trouble is, nobody was moving. At the time of the tweet, hundreds of motorists were stranded along a stretch of I-95 in Virginia, which had been belted by a snowstorm. Talk about tone-deaf. “Update: I’ve been on the road for 27 hours,” tweeted Virginia Senator (and former governor) Tim Kaine Tuesday afternoon before the roadway reopened.

On Wednesday, the veep’s week got worse as two more staffers — Director of Press Operations Peter Velz and Deputy Director of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs Vincent Evans — joined the mass exodus from Team Harris, which now numbers seven and includes former Senior Adviser Symone Sanders and former Communications Director Ashley Etienne.

Clearly, no one wants to work for this woman, but is it because of her laziness or her nastiness? Try both. As one former staffer quoted in The Washington Post put it last month: “It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work. With Kamala you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.” Ouch.

Now it starts to make sense why Joe Biden took such a noticeably long time before settling on Harris as his running mate.

As for Simmons, the next man up, he’s been doing a lot of damage control since the announcement of his hiring. As Fox News reports: “Simmons previously hosted a news show for The Hill called ‘Why You Should Care,’ in which he aired a segment in August 2019 titled ‘Dazed & Confused,’ poking fun at Biden for the many conflated and exaggerated stories he’s told the public over the years. ‘We do this story about once a week!’ Simmons said at the time. ‘It’s what you get with Uncle Joe.’”

Twelve years ago, Simmons seems to have been a stickler for our nation’s immigration laws. Back then he tweeted: “Just saw 2 undocumented folks talking on MSNBC. One law student the other a protester. Can someone explain why ICE is not picking them up?”

That remark won’t go over well with the base, nor will the news that Simmons donated $250 to Republican Rand Paul’s presidential campaign in June 2015. And given Joe Biden’s obsession with getting every man, woman, and child in the U.S. vaccinated, it doesn’t help that in September 2020 Simmons called it “a janky science vaccine” — unless a vaccine somehow becomes less janky under a Democrat administration.

“As a pundit for much of my career,” said Simmons on Friday, “I have tweeted a lot and spoken out on public issues. Sometimes I have been sarcastic, unclear, or just plainly missed the mark. I sincerely apologize for offending those who care as much as I do about making America the best, multi-ethnic, diverse democracy it can be. I know the role I am taking on is to represent the Biden-Harris administration, and I will do so with humility, sincerity and respect.”

Good luck with that, Jamal. Good luck.

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