White House staffers are having a blue Christmas.
Biden administration aides are griping about low morale and an absence of comradeship, leaving them without much holiday cheer, Politico reported late Wednesday.
“A lot of the natural coordination that happens in a typically functioning White House has been lost,” one official told the outlet, “and there has been no proactive effort to make up for it through intentional team building.”
Staffers said they were making their complaints public in an effort to bring the situation to the attention of senior leaders — with many saying they were updating their resumes and will begin to look for new jobs early next year after the anniversary of President Biden’s inauguration.
Some White House workers reportedly blame the low morale on the presence of longtime Biden aides who remain distant from their colleagues, a situation summed up by the phrase: “No new friends in Biden world.”
Others said that working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the culture problem by limiting communication between colleagues. Either way, attempts to build a sense of team spirit by holding informal happy hours and group dinners have failed, Politico reported.
Staffers have also grumbled about not being able to attend special events and holiday parties at the White House because of the way the administration doles out invitations.
The White House used a lottery system to determine who would attend the Dec. 2 National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, as well as be allowed to bring family members on White House tours to view the executive mansion’s holiday decorations — leaving many employees shut out.
“No one expects business as usual during the pandemic, but it’s beyond demoralizing, it’s insulting — especially when you see DNC and Hill staff and other DC types get invited,” an aide told Politico.
“It’s also hypocritical and ironic that a president whose brand is built on empathy and family has staff policies that fly in the face of that brand,” the person added. “It’s not a good look and it’s emblematic of how this place runs.”
The complaints about the environment at the White House follow reports from last month that Vice President Kamala Harris was feeling isolated and not receiving the same support as some other members of the administration — and that her relationship with Biden had reached an “exhausted stalemate.”
“It’s hard to miss the specific energy that the White House brings to defend a white man, knowing that Kamala Harris has spent almost a year taking a lot of the hits that the West Wing didn’t want to take themselves,” a former Harris aide told CNN.
The reference was to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who was allowed to take paternity leave amid the supply chain crisis. Harris and Buttigieg ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and are expected to do so again.
Other reports have painted a grim picture of the atmosphere in Harris’ office, with one Politico story from June describing it as “chaotic” as well as “tense and at times dour.”
The White House did not respond to requests from Politico for comment.