Is this now eight, nine, or ten staffers Kamala Harris has lost in the short time she’s been Vice President of the United States?
Harris’s top national security aide, Nancy McEldowney, is leaving her position, becoming one of several senior officials to depart the vice president’s office since the start of the year.
A 31-year veteran of the State Department, McEldowney has accompanied Harris on foreign trips around the world, including a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Munich before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
Harris’s national security adviser will be replaced by her deputy, Philip Gordon, according to an internal memo viewed by Reuters. Both have worked for Harris since she took office in 2021, advising the vice president on Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Central America. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
[source: The Washington Examiner]
In the memo, McEldowney told staff that she was stepping down to “focus on some pressing personal matters” while remaining a strong supporter of Harris and President Joe Biden.
The adviser said she was “not rushing out the door,” but she did not provide a firm date of departure, according to Reuters.
The ex-diplomat was the U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria between 2008 and 2009, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs between 2009 and 2011, and deputy chief of mission in Turkey and Azerbaijan. Before joining the administration, McEldowney was a volunteer on the Biden presidential transition team.
Gordon, who is the special assistant to the president and the deputy national security adviser to the vice president, has been involved in shaping Harris’s foreign policy strategy since the start of her term.
He is a veteran of the Obama and Clinton administrations, serving on the National Security Council staff as the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region coordinator between 2013 and 2015 and as European affairs director between 1998 and 1999. At the State Department, Gordon was the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs from 2009 to 2011.
President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told Reuters in a statement that McEldowney “has been a great partner to me and the National Security Council since we took office.” Gordon, he said, will be a “thoughtful and dedicated advisor to the Vice President and all of us.”
The move comes amid broad international unrest over the war in Ukraine, with Biden set to travel to Poland later this week, following up on Harris’s recent visit to NATO’s eastern flank.
Harris’s office has seen recent turnover, with several top communications advisers departing for new opportunities in other government agencies.
Author: Elizabeth Tierney