More than 20 black White House aides have left the Biden administration since late last year, a mass exodus that some have dubbed “Blaxit,” according to a new report.
While some of the departing employees have left in good conditions to pursue additional career or educational opportunities, others have attributed the turnover to a lack of mentorship and opportunities, Politico reported Tuesday, Citing nine black current and former White House officials.
“We are here and doing a lot of work but we are not decision makers and there is no real path towards becoming decision makers,” a current employee of the outlet told the outlet. “There is no real feedback and no clear path for any kind of upgrades.”
“They generally brought in too many blacks to start without creating the infrastructure to hold them or help them succeed,” another current official said. “If there is no clear infrastructure for how to achieve success, you will become as invisible in this space as if you were not present in it.”
A former official agreed, saying, “Some people haven’t had the best experiences, and a lot of that has to do with the death of black leadership.” “Think about any workplace. Black people need someone to go to, to strategize and be a mentor, and we don’t have a lot of people who can be our mentors.”
The first departure of a senior black official from the administration came in December, when senior vice president Kamala Harris and spokesperson Simon Sanders left to make a decision Host a party with MSNBC.
Chief of Staff Harris Tina FlornoyCommunications Manager Ashley Etienne Head of Public Participation Vincent Evans So is the White House Head of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond Since then they have joined the rush to get out.
Other black staff members leaving the White House include Public Engagement Assistant Karissa Smith, Gender Policy Assistant Kalisha Dessource, National Security Council Senior Director Linda Ethem, Director of Digital Engagement Cameron Trimble, Associate Adviser Funmi Olurunepa Badejo, and Advisers to the Chief of Staff Elizabeth Wilkins, Nate Mulugeta , press aide Natalie Austin, National Economic Council aides Joel Gamble and Conor Maxwell, and presidential aides Daniel Okay, Reggie Greer and Rayshon Dyson.
Those departures aren’t likely to be the last, either: White House officials told Politico that White House Deputy Counsel Daniel Conley and the Council of Economic Advisers assistant, Charming Griffin, are expected to leave the administration soon, too.
Of all the officials who have left the administration, Richmond’s departure from the Democratic National Committee appears to have hit particularly hard. A former White House aide described the former Louisiana congressman as a “core” for black staff, while a current official called him “big brother” and “the voice of these people,” adding that Richmond aides left “a little nervous.” “
Other black White House staffers were frustrated by what they say is the lack of focus on issues they consider important to the African American community.
“Issues that are the highest priority for our community are no longer at the forefront of the department’s list of priorities,” a current aide told Politico. When 10 black people were killed in a grocery store [in Buffalo]business as usual and no one stops to tell you, “Are you okay?”
“They gave us a mandate to carry out all the things that we promised and not only do we not deliver on that front, but then also do not deliver to the employees who came on the basis of that promise,” the port official said. “People go back to their homes, families or communities, and what specifically can they refer to? They can’t even refer to their own experiences as positive.”
Others cited relatively low salaries as a driving factor in departures.
Richmond revealed to Politico that “a lot of people have been in that grind [for a while] …the pace of work slows down and a better salary becomes more attractive.”
“For African American employees who can earn these kinds of salaries, it changes not only their plight, but the plight of their families,” he added.
Salaries for entry-level White House jobs start at about $48,000, according to the report.
“The wages in the White House are traditionally not good and a lot of blacks in these roles don’t come from wealthy families,” said a black White House official.
Large numbers of departures are not uncommon at the end of the first year of administration. While a large number have Graduated from the cum crewThe West Wing has seen many departures across the board, including former press secretary Jen Psaki, who left her post to attend the MSNBC party advance this month.
Management defended the exits, with press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre – the first black, gay and transgender woman to hold the position – telling Politico, “This is a natural time for change across the board in any department and black employees have been promoted. At a higher rate than non-diverse employees.” .
“The President is incredibly proud of his building of the most diverse White House staff in history, and he is committed to continuing the historic representation of black staff and all communities,” she added.
The White House has also disputed allegations of a lack of progress among black employees, telling the outlet that 15% of that group had been promoted in the past year. Nearly 14% of White House employees know they are black, according to the report.
The White House did not immediately respond to a Washington Post request for additional comment.