(RepublicanWire.org) – Nearly two dozen black White House staffers have left the administration since late 2021 or are planning to leave soon due to an unsupportive work environment and little chance for promotion.
A former White House official told Politico according to a report from Tuesday, the remarkable number of black staff departures has led some aides to call it a “Blaxit” or “Black Exit.”
“We’re here and we’re doing a lot of work, but we’re not decision-makers and there’s no real way to become decision-makers,” a current black White House official said, according to the report. “There is no real feedback and there is no clear path to any kind of promotion.”
Another black worker said low wages are driving many minority staff members out, especially in a city with one of the highest cost of living in the country.
Entry-level White House salaries only start at $48,000.
The first notable exit from this ‘Blaxit’ movement came in December 2021, when Vice President Kamala Harris’ chief spokesman Symone Sanders announced she was leaving. She landed on MSNBC where her self-titled show debuted on May 7.
In the weeks and months following early 2022, Harris senior assistants Tina Flournoy, Ashley Etienne and Vincent Evans all left, as did her public engagement head Cedric Richmond.
Including those departures that began late last year, at least 21 black staffers have now or are planning to leave the White House in the coming weeks and months.
Black staffers who have left the White House in the past five months include public engagement assistant Carissa Smith; gender policy officer Kalisha Dessources Figures; Senior Director of the National Security Council Linda Etim; Digital Engagement Director Cameron Trimble; and associate counsel Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo.
Also leaving are Chief of Staff Ron Klain advisers Elizabeth Wilkins and Niyat Mulughetal; press assistant Natalie Austin; National Economic Council staff Joelle Gamble and Connor Maxwell; and presidential staff aides Danielle Okai, Reggie Greer and Rayshawn Dyson.
Other black government staffers who plan to leave in the coming weeks include Deputy White House Adviser Danielle Conley and Assistant to the Council of Economic Advisers Saharra Griffin, according to the Politico report.
Some staffers left on good terms, including for other administration and graduate school jobs, while others said they wanted to refocus after years in a tense work environment with little free time or support from superiors.
“I have worked for both the president and vice president throughout the campaign cycle and found the opportunity to serve the American people in the Biden-Harris White House nothing short of an honor,” Austin said upon her departure.
“I loved my experience on the press team, and left because I wanted a chance to spend more time with family after nearly three years of campaigning and government work.”
Many black White House staffers said Richmond’s departure was particularly difficult for them.
They described the former Harris aide as a “big brother,” “voice of the people” and a “core” for black staffers. His departure, they added, has made people “a little nervous.”
“They generally brought in a lot of black people to start with without ever setting up infrastructure to keep them or help them be successful,” said a black White House official. “If there’s no clear infrastructure to be successful, you become as invisible in this space as if you weren’t there.”
Richmond, now a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee, told Politico that the White House gave young black staffers more responsibility than other governments and that many who left were doing so for higher-pay jobs.
“A lot of people have had this rut for a while and it’s a hard grind, so a reduction in the pace of work and a better salary will be more attractive,” he says. “For young African-American staffers who can earn these kinds of salaries, it changes not only their plight, but also that of their families.”
The exodus of black staffers had raised concerns among those pushing for diversification in government offices.
“I’ve heard about an exodus of black White House officials — ‘Blaxit’ — and I’m concerned,” Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies chairman Spencer Overton told Politico.
The group’s chairman, which tracks staff diversity figures in government, added: “Black voters accounted for 22 percent of President Biden’s voters in November 2020.”
“It is essential that black staffers are not only recruited to serve in senior, middle and junior positions in the White House, but are also involved in key policy and personnel decisions and have career advancement opportunities.”
A White House official pushed back criticism, claiming that 14 percent of current Biden and Harris staffers are black, which is in line with America’s 13.4 percent black population.
Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden’s new press secretary, said: “The president is incredibly proud to have built what continues to be the most diverse White House staff in history, and he is committed to the historic representation of black. staff and all communities.”
“This is a normal time for turnover across the board in any administration and black personnel have been promoted faster than personnel who are not diverse,” she added.