Harris names new communications director after wave of staff departures

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Vice President Kamala Harris has selected a new communications director following an onslaught of recent departures from her office.

Fox News confirmed Thursday that Harris had selected longtime Democratic communications aide Jamal Simmons to serve as in the role, a decision that is expected to be announced this week.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Tribal Nations Summit on the White House campus, Nov. 16, 2021, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Simmons, a Michigan native, will take over from Ashley Etienne, Harris’ former communications director, who announced in November that she would be leaving her post in December.

Etienne is not the only one from the vice president’s office who recently announced their intent to depart from the office.

Jamal Simmons at The Edition Hotel on Feb. 20, 2020, in Los Angeles, California.
(Robin L Marshall/Getty Images for BET)

Harris’ chief spokesperson Symone Sanders resigned last month. Vincent Evans, who served as the vice president’s deputy director of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs for nearly a year, announced in a statement to CNBC this week he is leaving to become the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Peter Velz, director of Harris’ press operations, served his last day on the job on Thursday. He will be taking on a new role at the State Department and announced his decision to leave Harris’ office in November.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to members of the press as Symone Sanders looks on June 14, 2021.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The departures followed a November CNN report that highlighted growing frustration within Harris’ office, as the vice president’s approval numbers continue to slide amid of string of gaffes during her first year in office.

Simmons has been involved with national politics since the 1990s and served as deputy communications director for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. In addition, Simmons, as reported by The Hill, served as an aide to former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark. Simmons was also chief of staff to former Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.

Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this report.

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