Exit Stage Left: Top-Level Biden Official Resigns Days After Awkward Event with Kamala Harris


Keisha Lance Bottoms is leaving her post as the White House’s senior advisor and director of the Office of Public Engagement.

The announcement comes just days after the former Atlanta mayor awkwardly introduced Vice President Kamala Harris to a group of journalism students.

In a statement, President Joe Biden announced Monday that former Columbia, South Carolina, Mayor Stephen Benjamin will replace her.

“Mayor Benjamin is a longtime public servant, who has served the people of South Carolina for over two decades statewide and as a three-term mayor of Columbia,” Biden said.

“As a former president of both the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the African American Mayors Association, Steve’s deep relationships with communities across the country will serve our administration and the American public well,” he added.

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Biden went on to thank Bottoms for prioritizing “equity” while working in the White House.

“Under Keisha’s leadership, the Office of Public Engagement has kept equity at the heart of our agenda and continues to serve as the connective tissue between our Administration and everyday Americans who may not have a voice to reach Washington otherwise,” Biden said.

Biden continued, “I have leaned on Keisha as a close advisor with exceptional instincts, and I am grateful to her for serving our nation with honor and integrity.”

“I wish her the best as she returns home to Atlanta to be with her family,” he concluded.

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Bottoms said on Twitter her tenure in the White House was supposed to be short and that she gave up a summer off to take the job of at the Office of Public Engagement.

“Term ended in January 2022. I didn’t take a break, planning to work hard for 6 months and relax over the summer,” she wrote. “@WhiteHouse called again in June and I said, ‘I’ll stay just thru midterms in November.’”

It is not clear what Bottoms intends to do next, but she is just the latest high-level staffer to leave the Biden administration.

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She opted against running for a second term as Atlanta’s mayor and blamed it on former President Donald Trump, social unrest and the pandemic.

“There was last summer. There was a pandemic. There was a social justice movement. There was a madman in the White House,” she said in May 2021, according to NPR. “It is abundantly clear to me today that it is time to pass the baton on to someone else.”

Bottoms made headlines last week after she awkwardly introduced Harris to journalism students from historically black colleges.

After Harris entered a mostly quiet room, Bottoms said, “You can clap. It’s OK.”

Few people took Bottoms up on the offer.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.