Karine Jean-Pierre’s Babysitter Gets Promoted

News & Politics

While you were watching the Super Bowl, there was a small change at the White House: John Kirby received a promotion.

Kirby originally came to the White House from the Pentagon in 2022, two weeks after Karine Jean-Pierre replaced Jen Psaki as White House Press Secretary. It was a blatant vote of no confidence in Jean-Pierre, who may have checked off all the right diversity boxes to be picked for the job but quickly proved herself to be grossly unprepared. She routinely dodged questions and seemed to be unable to answer a question without constantly referring to her notes. Sometimes she’d provide an answer that was completely unrelated to the question.

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Kirby was given the ridiculously wordy title of “United States National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications” for keeping a watchful eye on Biden’s Black Lesbian Woman™ press secretary. Now that he’s paid his dues for two and a half years, he will hold the title of “White House National Security Communications Adviser” and get an expanded role as assistant to Joe Biden, moving up the ranks from deputy assistant.

According to Reuters, Kirby will now be “in charge of communications coordination for national security across a variety of agencies” and “will preside over a separate team from the National Security Council’s press office, which will continue its daily press operations as usual.”

Despite the title on his business card and the elevated role, Kirby is expected to continue babysitting Karine Jean-Pierre.

According to a Biden administration official, his appearances in the briefing room will continue, “commensurate with when national security issues are dominant themes of the day.” This sounds like a fancy way of saying that he’ll be available to help Jean-Pierre when she’s deemed unable to handle a briefing on her own.

Senior Biden adviser Anita Dunn said that Kirby’s “decades of high-level national security experience and his clear, strategic insights make him a deeply valued communicator and adviser on this team.”

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“President Biden is proud to have John leading national security message coordination across the administration as we continue to make a forceful case for our national security interests at home and in the world,” she added.

The report added that in his new role, Kirby “will hire a small staff tasked with helping him synchronize the administration’s messaging on national security issues.”

Kirby may be significantly better at being a mouthpiece for the administration than Jean-Pierre, but even he has trouble defending the indefensible. In December, during an interview on CBS News, he couldn’t name a single foreign policy achievement of the administration.

“What would the president say is his foreign policy achievement of the year?” asked CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe.

“There’s a lot that we’ve achieved in foreign policy,” Kirby began. “And Karine has already made sure that she — that you know that we’re — we’re running late, and I don’t want to — I don’t want to belabor this. So, I — this answer could go on for, like, 20 minutes.”

From there, he continued to filibuster with awkward, fluff-filled rambling, citing so-called achievements or completely subjective, abstract talking points that had nothing to do with Biden’s actual policies. 

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So despite the promotion, it’s tough to say whether Kirby will help the administration’s messaging in the months leading up to the presidential election. He may be better than Karine Jean-Pierre, but that’s an awfully low bar.

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