While Ms. Flournoy’s appointment has been viewed as a guarantee that an adult will run Ms. Harris’s office, she is not without critics who have said she does not always have the right instincts to protect Mr. Clinton from politically damaging moments.
Many aides in Mrs. Clinton’s orbit hold Mrs. Flournoy responsible for Mr. Clinton’s unfortunate tarmac meeting with Loretta E. Lynch in June 2016 when Mrs. Lynch was Attorney General and F.B.I. investigated the circumstances surrounding Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
Mr. Clinton was ending a hot day on the Phoenix campaign to support his wife’s presidential election when the secret service alerted Ms. Flournoy and other staff that Ms. Lynch’s government plane was parked next to his. Ms. Flournoy said the former president, often out to meet friends, acquaintances and even political rivals, would like to say hello to Ms. Lynch, someone with knowledge of what has happened.
Ms. Lynch, who at the time had a foot injury, invited Mr. Clinton on her plane to get away from the heat and Ms. Flournoy did not prevent him from getting on alone, stating that he and the Attorney General should have some privacy.
When the meeting became known, it sparked a firestorm of Republican criticism and Ms. Lynch eventually refused to monitor the email investigation, announcing that she would be relying on the F.B.I. instead. This set the stage for James B. Comey, the director of the bureau, to issue a public statement harshly criticizing Ms. Clinton even as he announced that she would not be charged.
Angel Ureña, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton, denied that Ms. Flournoy was in any way responsible for the asphalt incident, saying that she had the support of those who worked with her.
“I’ve worked for Tina for almost eight years so I’m pretty well positioned to say where my colleagues and I stand, what’s behind her,” said Ureña. “We love and respect her, we will miss her and have absolutely no doubt that she will be nothing more than an asset to the elected Vice President and the country.”