Things like this rarely happen in the private sector, but in the weird world of politics and government it makes perfect sense.
John Kirby has been given a promotion to the same level as Karine Jean-Pierre as a presidential spokesman and “Assistant to the President.”
Jean-Pierre, though, is not going anywhere. She and Kirby will be essentially sharing the same role as spokesmen and given the same access (or lack thereof) to the president. Kirby will also do double duty as the comms director for the National Security Council, the role he has been performing up until now.
This move officially gives Kirby the same rank inside the WH as KJP
Biden national security aide John Kirby gets expanded role https://t.co/XSBLBE2VPP
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) February 12, 2024
As a practical matter, Kirby’s promotion may or may not mean a lot. Given KJP’s utter incompetence at her job, Kirby has been taking up a lot of the slack already. And, as Axios reported last month, he has made it clear that he didn’t like his subordinate role to Jean-Pierre.
One is for “historic firsts” and the other one is for the real work ????The White House’s tense podium battle https://t.co/IuKYiYkBA6
— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) January 5, 2024
Everybody who is anybody has known that Kirby has been the de facto communications advisor to the president, and Kirby is the one who has the political and communications chops to articulate the message in a way that KJP has proven to be incapable.
Between the lines: They both keep appearing at the podium together for one reason: Biden likes it.
- Kirby has become more influential publicly and behind the scenes as he has developed a close relationship with the president.
- Biden frequently asks for Kirby to personally brief him. Senior adviser Anita Dunn recently had Kirby start traveling on Air Force One for domestic trips, not just international ones.
- In the more than 30 press briefings and gaggles since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, Jean-Pierre has briefed reporters solo just once — during a gaggle on Air Force One.
- Kirby has accompanied her at every other briefing she has conducted except for three, when she was joined by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. (Sullivan joined once because Kirby was ill, according to two people familiar with the matter.)
Jean-Pierre still runs the press briefings and selects which reporters ask Kirby questions, rather than letting him choose.
- That’s standard procedure for most briefing room guests. But Kirby is there often, and has expressed frustration that it applies to him. Some White House aides see the practice as a sign of Jean-Pierre being insecure.
- The aides note that Sullivan calls on reporters himself when he attends the briefing — a practice that began during Psaki’s tenure.
What is happening here has exactly the same roots as the Kamala problem: the DEI obsession of the Leftist administration. KJP fills the role of being “historic,” as she is a Black Lesbian immigrant. and was chosen to fill this role for precisely that reason. In her first press briefing–at the top–she emphasized the “Firsts” she represented.
As with Kamala, the pick has proven to be a disaster on multiple levels. First and foremost, of course, is that they both are unlikeable, incompetent, and an embarrassment. Yet neither can be abandoned because doing so would be seen as racist, sexist, and in the case of KJP, homophobic in the eyes of the identity-obsessed Left.
So the White House is stuck with them.
Also, on a practical matter, both of them undermine the implicit claim that minorities, women, and gays are not worthy of holding their positions and only climb the ladder due to affirmative action. There is plenty of factual evidence that “diverse” people from these populations can be competent and successful, but the Biden Administration seems uniquely capable to avoiding hiring them. Instead they have striven to prove the racists, sexists, and homophobes correct.
Their diversity hires are the butt of jokes, for obvious reasons.
Kirby is clearly the more competent spokesman and communications guy, but as a White male, it would be seen as a betrayal to replace Black, lesbian immigrant KJP with a straight White male from the good ol’ USA.
Identity politics is poison and demonstrably puts our society at risk by demanding that totally unqualified people leapfrog over actually competent people.
In this matter, as with so many others, Biden has proven that his superpower is “f**king things up.”