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DNC chair Jaime Harrison strikes back at 'unnamed' critics

The Democratic Party’s top official bristled at an NBC News article detailing tension between him and White House officials.
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WASHINGTON — Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison defended himself and struck back at critics Saturday night, just hours after NBC News published an article describing the growing friction between him and White House officials over his role.

"There is a lot of unnamed bulls--- in politics, but no one can ever say that I don’t work my ass off for what I believe in," Harrison wrote in the first of eight threaded tweets

NBC News reported that Harrison is deeply frustrated with the limits the White House has put on his authority, enough that he has considered leaving before November’s midterms, according to two people familiar with the situation. At the same time, White House officials want Harrison to travel more outside his home state of South Carolina for political and fundraising events, NBC News reported. 

The article was based on interviews with more than two dozen Democrats, including current and former White House and party officials. Most of them would speak only on the condition of anonymity, and some of them pointed to the severity of the tension as a symptom of President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and muddled messaging.

The article also reported deep frustration among Democrats that the White House’s political operation has failed to communicate a coherent message to state parties.

“My hope is that people who have time to engage in the rumor mills and this and that would actually use that energy to register a few more voters,” Harrison, responding to the criticism, told NBC News in an interview.

In his Twitter thread response, Harrison offered a list of his highlights as DNC chair, including raising roughly $150 million in 2021 — a record for the first year after a presidential election — and finance meetings in California, New York, Illinois and Washington, D.C., and hundreds of virtual events with state parties.

He quoted his grandfather as saying that if a person isn't willing to put their name on criticism, it isn't worth saying.

"To unnamed sources," Harrison wrote in the final tweet, "if you expect me to go away or roll into a ball and whimper…you picked the wrong one." He added that his focus is "upending" the GOP.

"You have the mission, now get with the program!" Harrison wrote before including a GIF of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson saying "Not today."

Appearing on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., was asked about Harrison, a close friend, and his leadership of the DNC.

"You’re close to him. You’re a mentor. He’s reportedly considering leaving that job ahead of the midterm races because of disagreements with the White House," host Margaret Brennan said, a reference to NBC News’ reporting. "Do you think the DNC needs new leadership?"

"I do not," Clyburn said. "I think he is exactly what we need for this party at this particular juncture. I also know he, like all of us in this business, he has his detractors. I have mine. It doesn’t mean that he is wrong or they are wrong. It means that people have different approaches to doing things. And so Jamie Harrison is there. He will never run. He believes in fighting rather than switching."

When pressed on whether Clyburn would be more explicit about who might be standing in the way of Harrison doing his job and whether it was the White House, he demurred. 

"No," Clyburn said. "I’m not saying who it is."