Report: White House Rages at COVID-Cautious DNC Chair

Jaime Harrison works largely from his South Carolina home

DNC chairman Jaime Harrison (Getty Images)
January 31, 2022

The White House is growing frustrated over Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison’s commitment to isolating for fear of the coronavirus, according to an NBC News report.

Harrison has largely worked from his South Carolina home since being elected to the position in 2021 because of his concerns about the pandemic and focus on his young children, the outlet reported. His refusal to show face at fundraising events or the DNC headquarters in Washington, D.C., has caused a rift with White House staffers as President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have plummeted, sources told NBC."

He’s been marginalized—but it's with good cause," a former DNC official in contact with the White House told NBC. Another former DNC official complained that Harrison is "not out there fighting the fight."

The Biden administration has reiterated the importance of isolating as COVID-19 variants spread. In a June memo expanding telework options for federal employees, Biden administration officials noted that "evaluation of an employee’s performance should … not be affected by whether an employee is working in the office."

Harrison, a black man who is reportedly "borderline diabetic," faces greater than average risk from COVID-19, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. The DNC does not require its employees to work in the office.

Harrison pushed back on the NBC report, which claimed he was eyeing an early exit from his post, in a series of tweets Saturday.

"My grandpa used to say ‘if you aren’t man or woman enough to put your name on it & your reputation behind it, then it ain’t worth being said or done,’" Harrison wrote. "There is a lot of unnamed bullshit in politics, but no one can ever say that I don’t work my ass off for what I believe in." He also noted that 2021 was the DNC’s highest-ever post-presidential fundraising year.

Harrison ran an unsuccessful campaign against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) in 2020 with the highest quarterly fundraising total for a Senate candidate in U.S. history.