MSNBC's Symone Sanders Shares the Advice Kamala Harris Gave Her When She Left Politics
Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage Symone Sanders
While her departure from the Biden administration in 2022 was met with some surprise, MSNBC host Symone Sanders-Townsend says it wasn't without the support of her then-boss, Vice President Kamala Harris.
"She is so encouraging," Sanders-Townsend said in an interview on The Sherri Shephard Show Thursday. "Seriously she is about her business, okay. She wants the work to get done and there is a time for laughs and a time for work so she is very serious about the work and that is something I take with me now to the job I do."
Sanders-Townsend, who left her role as a senior adviser and the chief spokesperson for Harris to host a weekend program and a show on Peacock, said that Harris gave her "good advice" before she left politics for television.
"She said, 'You can do anything you want to do, don't let anybody tell you no. You've worked for the things you want. If you want a show, go get a show,'" Sanders-Townsend, 33, recalled.
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"I sat down with Rashida Jones, the president of MSNBC, a Black woman, who said, 'What kind of show would you like to have?'" Sanders-Townsend told Shepherd. "It's because of Rashida who valued my voice that I have the opportunity to do the news every Saturday and Sunday."
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Now several months into hosting Symone on MSNBC, Sanders-Townsend still thinks fondly of her time working with Vice President Harris and President Joe Biden.
"It was amazing," she told Shepherd. "I was the senior adviser in his campaign and when he selected then-Senator Harris as his running mate, I also got the opportunity to travel with her, so I got to know her very well."
Sanders-Townsend said she was "honored" when Harris asked her to join the administration as her spokesperson in part because of the historic importance of the role.
"I was very honored when she asked me during the transition to come on as her spokesperson because you know, like she is the first woman, Black vice president of the United States of America in the world," she said. "The world views her through the prism of the media. It was absolutely amazing."
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The Sherri Shepherd Show Symone Sanders and Sherri Shepherd
She admits there were challenges, but all in all, "it was an amazing experience."
"I got to drive up to The White House every day," she said. "I went through the gate, okay? It was truly amazing. It was the honor of a lifetime. I always wanted to work at The White House and working for the vice president was truly, like every day it was my first professional experience going into a room where the person in charge was someone who looked like me."
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Sanders-Townsend announced she was leaving her role with the White House in December 2021, writing in a note to staff: "I'm so grateful to the VP for her vote of confidence from the very beginning and the opportunity to see what can be unburdened by what has been. I'm grateful for [Harris' chief of staff] Tina [Flournoy] and her leadership and her confidence as well."