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PJ Media
PJ Media
17 Feb 2024
Matt Margolis

NextImg:John Kirby Wants Karine Jean-Pierre’s Job, but He’s Not Going to Get It

Earlier this week, the White House quietly announced that United States National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby received a promotion. Instead of that absurdly long and ambiguous title, he would now get a fresh set of business cards dubbing him White House National Security Communications Adviser.

As we reported on Monday, Kirby will get an expanded role as assistant to Joe Biden and oversee communication coordination for national security across various agencies. This position involves presiding over a distinct team separate from the National Security Council's press office, which will maintain its regular daily press operations. Despite the elevated responsibilities, Kirby is anticipated to continue working closely with Karine Jean-Pierre.

While this sounds like a promotion, it appears to more of a consolation prize for Kirby. After the promotion, we learned that there is tension between him and White House Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, whom he's been babysitting since coming to the White House from the Pentagon in 2022, and this new job he's been given is not the job he wants. He wants Jean-Pierre's.

On Sunday, he was promoted to a new position, White House national security communications adviser, that puts him in charge of communications across all executive agencies involved in national security. Ms. Jean-Pierre remains the press secretary, though Mr. Kirby will now rank alongside her as an “assistant to the president,” the highest staff title in the West Wing.

Before his elevation, Mr. Kirby had privately acknowledged, when asked, that he would one day like to be named press secretary, and he has expressed frustration that Ms. Jean-Pierre picked the reporters who ask him questions at briefings, according to several of the people interviewed for this article. Ms. Jean-Pierre has said she has no plans to leave her job before the election. Some details of their private comments were previously reported by Axios.

The New York Times described the situation as "awkward from the start."

When Mr. Biden, in early 2022, chose Ms. Jean-Pierre to succeed Jen Psaki, his first press secretary, he did so despite the misgivings of some senior aides who believed she needed more seasoning for the job, according to three people with knowledge of the dynamics inside the West Wing.

Jean-Pierre's inexperience for the job was obvious from the start, but she wasn't promoted to fill Jen Psaki's shoes because of competence, she was promoted because she's a Black Lesbian Woman™ who checked off the right diversity checkboxes. Her performance in the job was anything but praiseworthy. Instead, she proved herself to be grossly unprepared, routinely dodging questions, and constantly referring to her notes — sometimes even providing answers that were unrelated to the question she is supposed to answer. It was less than two weeks into her tenure when the White House brought then-Pentagon spokesman John Kirby over to babysit her.

Kirby may be better suited to be the mouthpiece of the White House, but even if Jean-Pierre were to leave her job, there is no chance Biden is about to give it to a white man.