Guess Which Workplace is Being Referred to as a “Hostile Work Environment”

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 17, 2011

Give up? Here’s your answer:

A new book claims that the Obama White House is a boys’ club marred by rampant infighting that has hindered the administration’s economic policy and left top female advisers feeling excluded from key conversations.

“Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President,” by journalist Ron Suskind due out next Tuesday, details the rivalries among Obama’s top economic advisers, Larry Summers, former chairman of the National Economic Council, and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner. It describes constant second-guessing by Summers, now at Harvard, who was seen by others as “imperious and heavy-handed” in his decision-making.

In an excerpt obtained by The Post, a female senior aide to President Obama called the White House a hostile environment for women.

“This place would be in court for a hostile workplace,” former White House communications director Anita Dunn is quoted as saying. “Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.”

Dunn declined to discuss the specifics of the book. But in an interview Friday she said she told Suskind “point blank” that the White House “was not a hostile environment.”

“The president is someone who when he goes home at night he goes home to house full of very strong women,” Dunn added. “He values having strong women around him.”

The book, due out next week, reveals a White House that at times was divided and dysfunctional.

It says that women occupied many of the West Wing’s senior positions, but felt outgunned and outmaneuvered by male colleagues such as former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Summers.

“I felt like a piece of meat,” Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, said of one meeting in which Suskind writes she was “boxed out” by Summers.

[. . .]

“The president has a real woman problem,” an unnamed high-ranking female official told Suskind. “ The idea of the boys’ club being just Larry and Rahm isn’t really fair. He [Obama] was just as responsible himself.”

Of course now, people like Dunn are going on the record to assure us that everything they said to Suskind is totally and completely untrue. In equally unsurprising news, many of the same bloggers who gleefully discussed Suskind’s revelations about the Bush Administration in prior books have little to nothing to say regarding Suskind’s latest book, and the unflattering ways in which it portrays Team Obama.

Previous post:

Next post: