Kimberly Guilfoyle and Kamala Harris

In an article in 2003, Kimberly Guilfoyle claimed Kamala Harris tampered with her career. More than a decade later, the two women face-off in the 2020 presidential election.  

These days any animosity between Kamala Harris and Kimberly Guilfoyle could just be chalked up to the 2020 presidential election, where Harris is the Democratic Vice President nominee and Guilfoyle is a senior advisor to Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. However, the history between the two women is more revealing; more than a decade ago, Harris allegedly tampered with Guilfoyle’s career. 

As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2003, Harris supposedly interfered with Guilfoyle’s (then, Guilfoyle Newsom) bid to return to the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. 

“The bottom line is she didn’t want me there,” said Guilfoyle. 

Harris v. Guilfoyle

Guilfoyle is now an ardent Trump supporter — as both a member of his reelection campaign and the girlfriend of his son, Donald Trump Jr. — but she entered the political scene as a lawyer and the wife of Gavin Newsom, a democrat and the current Governor of California.

After Guilfoyle graduated from law school in 1994, she briefly worked as a prosecutor in San Francisco. She lost her job two years later when newly elected D.A. Terence Halinan fired her and 13 other deputies.  This is when her path merged with that of Harris’s.

Guilfoyle landed a job at the Los Angeles D.A. ‘s office, and a short while later, Harris was recruited to supervise the D.A.’s career criminal unit back in San Francisco. Guilfoyle, who was dating S.F. Supervisor Newsom at the time, wanted to leave L.A. and return to her city. When management roles shifted at the SF D.A.’s office, she made plans to be reinstated. 

Then Guilfoyle received a call from Harris. 

“She called me and said basically that she was on the hiring committee and in charge of the budget for the D.A.’s office, and that I should have gone through her if I wanted to return to the D.A.’s office — and that there was no money to hire me,” said Guilfoyle.

Guilfoyle already met with the chief assistant at the S.F. D.A.’s office about coming back. When she called the office to get some clarification, she was told that there was no such hiring committee and that Harris had no say in the matter.

Harris disputed Guilfoyle’s telling of the story, stating that she never tried to dissuade Guilfoyle from returning. 

“I never discouraged her from joining the office,” Harris said. “I never suggested to her there wasn’t a job for her in the San Francisco D.A.’s office — of that, I’m very clear.” 

Though Harris did reach out to Guilfoyle, she said she did so to “see if she needed any help — to let her know I was there to help her.”

Guilfoyle did not feel similarly; “You have to understand, I came with an excellent resume, and talented women should support other talented women.”

Regardless of Harris’s alleged intervention, Guilfoyle returned to the S.F. D.A.’s office a few months after, where she served in a shocking second-degree murder trial involving a dog mauling that received widespread attention. By 2006, she had divorced from Newsom and made a name for herself at Fox News.

Rivalry remains a decade later

In the 2003 San Francisco Chronicle article, Harris and Guilfoyle still expressed mutual respect and admiration for the other, despite that incident.

Harris said, “I’ve seen Kimberly a number of times over the last few months . . . We have great rapport and have great respect for each other.”

Guilfoyle echoed Harris’s sentiment, calling “very smart” and “a good speaker” and someone who “will work very hard” if elected as D.A.

Another potential tie between the two women could be Governor Newsom, whose political career was parallel to that of Harris. He was sworn in as mayor of S.F. the same day she took the oath as the city’s D.A. in 2004.

As Newsom’s wife, Guilfoyle campaigned alongside him, despite their opposing political affiliations. Several accounts note that Guilfoyle and Harris also travelled in the same social circle. 

2020 face-off

Flash forward to 2020, and Guilfoyle’s relationship with Harris remains icy, to say the least. As opponents in the upcoming presidential election, whatever animosity shared between Guilfoyle and Harris is now front and center on the national stage.

When Harris was announced as Joe Biden’s pick for Vice President, Guilfoyle retweeted a post from Donald Trump Jr. calling Harris “phony.” She also retweeted a couple of articles since condemning Harris as an “extreme San Francisco liberal.”

Harris has yet to respond or acknowledge her resurfaced contentious history with Guilfoyle. Further complicating the issue is Harris’ own campaign history, which received donations from Trump twice, in 2011 and 2013. 

Though Harris’s and Guilfoyle’s timelines overlapped in San Francisco and now in D.C., unlike Harris, Guilfoyle is desperate to shed her West Coast past. 

As she took the stage to introduce Vice President Mike Pence at an event in 2018, Guilfoyle made one thing clear: “I have fully recovered from San Francisco.”

Candy Chan

Candy Chan is studying History with a focus on War and Revolution at Barnard College. She is currently a staff writer at the Columbia Daily Spectator, covering issues pertaining to Columbia's...

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