Two liberal CNN commentators who support Vice President Kamala Harris are unhappy with their outlet's own story outlining frustration and dysfunction in her office.
A lengthy CNN piece Sunday outlined mutual exasperation between Harris and President Joe Biden's offices as her approval rating dips, with the former's aides feeling hung out to dry as she tackles thankless tasks without White House cover, and the latter's staff having "thrown up their hands" at her "lack of focus," as CNN put it.
"Defenders and people who care for Harris are getting frantic," CNN's Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jasmine Wright reported, adding, "She's perceived to be in such a weak position that top Democrats in and outside of Washington have begun to speculate privately, asking each other why the White House has allowed her to become so hobbled in the public consciousness, at least as they see it."
CNN commentator Bakari Sellers, who backed Harris' ill-fated presidential bid, complained on "New Day" about the overall way the first female vice president is treated in the media.
"I have a larger issue with the tone and tenor by which Kamala Harris is covered, and I think we saw that in this article," he said. "I had to push back heavily on this article and throw a little cold water on it. I spent a little time with the vice president’s office and no one’s frantic, but more importantly she just got back from a flawless overseas trip to France dealing with a very prickly issue where we had some freezing of our diplomatic relations with France, and she by all means performed extremely well."
Sellers, who was quoted in a separate Washington Post article defending Harris, bemoaned that the CNN piece mentioned a Harris gaffe from her diplomatic trip to France, where she appeared to awkwardly employ a French accent during a lab visit.
"When you have these articles come out, it puts a lot of us in a defensive posture, because we see that a lot of people are treating Kamala Harris the same way they treated Hillary Clinton, which is attempting to end her political career in a death by a million cuts," he said.
Sellers acknowledged there was frustration among Harris' allies with how she was being deployed by the West Wing. Harris has stumbled through being the point person on thorny issues like Democrats' desired voting system overhaul and the mounting border crisis.
"The fact is, she’s come into this being a great team player because there was a thought that she would not be a team player, and she’s been nothing but a great team player," Sellers said.
Also, CNN legal and national security analyst Carrie Cordero didn't care for the piece, quoting the article's headline, and tweeting, "Alternatively, ‘Accomplished, Brave & History-Changing @VP Doesn’t Conform to Mythical Expectations of a Pandemic-Era, Post-Insurrection Vice Presidency."
The piece touched a nerve in the White House, with press secretary Jen Psaki tweeting out a defense of Harris that appeared to be in direct response to the article. Harris' approval rating was a dismal 28 percent in one recent survey, a historically bad number for a vice president and especially after a comparatively brief time in office.
"For anyone who needs to hear it. @VP is not only a vital partner to @POTUS but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country—from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband," Psaki tweeted.
Symone Sanders, who serves as senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Harris, also chimed in, writing, "It is unfortunate that after a productive trip to France in which we reaffirmed our relationship with America's oldest ally and demonstrated U.S. leadership on the world stage, and following passage of a historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create jobs and strengthen our communities, some in the media are focused on gossip — not on the results that the President and Vice President have delivered."