Karine Jean-Pierre: Time for Her to Go? Press Secretary has to be one of the most difficult jobs in the White House.
The press secretary is a real-time spin doctor, working to satisfy a ravenous press corps, each of whom knows they can score major career points if they trip you up. Answering cold calls isn’t an easy task under the best of circumstances, answering cold calls from a rabid press corps, about a wide range of potential topics, while on live television – that’s demanding stuff.
I have respect for the position and, generally, for the people who have served in the position.
Karine Jean-Pierre: A Rough Ride for Sure
That being said, current White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has not had the smoothest tenure.
Often times, rather than controlling the news, rather than spinning the news in a way favorable to the Biden administration, Jean-Pierre has herself become the headline.
The curious bit about the criticism Jean-Pierre has faced is that the criticism comes not just from the right, but from the left, too.
Indeed, a wide spectrum of observers have raised questions about Jean-Pierre’s competence, her ability to perform as Biden’s press secretary.
The criticism was especially sharp in Jean-Pierre’s early days on the job, when POLITICO reported that “her answers have baffled reporters, and even made some of her White House colleagues wince. She has increasingly found herself sharing the podium or splitting briefings with John Kirby, who has been taking the lead on foreign policy and a times appears to function as a co-press secretary.”
Time For Her Karine Jean-Pierre to Be Fire? Not Exactly
When Karine Jean-Pierre took the job in 2022, many speculated that she wouldn’t last long. The press was ruthless in its coverage, with the New York Post declaring ‘Karine Jean-Pierre is a terrible White House press secretary.’
“For beleaguered White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, things are going sideways in a manner that’s reached comic proportions,” The Post reported in September 2022. “While her boss President Biden runs around giving operatic and menacing speeches….Jean-Pierre is left at the White House podium. Holding the bag. And so far, it isn’t going well.”
The calls to fire her then started popping up on social media and in the press.
Meanwhile, The National Review was calling Jean-Pierre a ‘World-Historically Bad Press Secretary.’ And the more moderate POLITICO rated Jean-Pierre’s debut as ‘tough’ with ‘Unforced stumbles and press corps grumbles.’
But the headlines have withered up. Jean-Pierre isn’t herself news all that often anymore. Which, if you’re a press secretary, is a good thing, suggesting that Jean-Pierre has generally righted the ship.
Now, Jean-Pierre has already stumbled sufficiently to exclude her from consideration as top-tier press secretary; she won’t be remembered as one of the greats. But it seems like Jean-Pierre has gotten to the point where she can get through a briefing without becoming the news herself.
That’s an improvement.
And the truth, it seems, is that most of the country has long-since taken up entrenched partisan positions, and inherently feels a certain way about any member of the Biden administration, a feeling that is impervious to Jean-Pierre’s performance.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
From the Vault