When Karine Jean-Pierre was promoted and replaced the outgoing Jen Psaki in the White House Press Secretary position, the first thing we heard was that she was a “historic” first — first black gay woman in the position.
Then her first week didn’t go very well. Perhaps it was a question of nerves in a new position, but she frequently seemed at sea trying to answer questions. She hadn’t seemed to have that issue during the infrequent occasions when she stood in for Psaki in the past.
Suddenly, we started hearing reports about a new shake-up in the Communications department at the White House — that John Kirby, the Pentagon spox, who had been considered for the Press Secretary job was going to be brought in, in a communications role, and saying that he would be doing some briefings.
SCOOP: @PentagonPresSec John Kirby is moving to the White House for a senior communications role. His exact title and responsibilities are still being determined, but he will be deeply involved in all White House comms and make appearances at briefing.https://t.co/BS93c4eNq0
— Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) May 19, 2022
Then it seemed like the White House couldn’t even define what Kirby’s position at the White House was supposed to be because they couldn’t say for 24 hours whether he’d be working at the National Security Council or the press office, or even how often he was supposed to be doing briefings.
Not surprisingly, “several White House officials and insiders told West Wing Playbook that they felt the move put a damper on Jean-Pierre’s first week, and undercut her credibility.”
“There are people in the White House who feel that the timing of Kirby’s hiring demonstrates that White House leadership believes that the first African American White House press secretary needs ‘adult supervision,’” one Democratic source familiar with dynamics in the White House and on Capitol Hill told West Wing Playbook, calling the move “demeaning,” and “insulting.”
Not good, when it looks like you’re bringing in the white guy because you think he’ll help the situation. But as we saw during the Afghanistan debacle, Kirby was a horror. He and the Biden Administration still haven’t been held to account for lying about the number of Americans that they left behind in Afghanistan.
Then on top of that, the White House also announced that they were bringing in Anita Dunn, a long-time advisor to Biden and communications specialist, to be a “special adviser.” According to Politico, that resulted in “frustration” from some Democratic lawmakers, “an inclusion that, for them, left an impression that Jean-Pierre needed oversight.” Again, not a good look.
Dunn is the genius who — with the Center for American Progress Action Fund — spent six months to come up with the term “ultra MAGA” to try to tar Republicans, which the right turned on them as they did with “deplorable” when Hillary Clinton pulled that out.
As Hot Air’s John Sexton pointed out:
You may remember Dunn as the Obama era White House communications director who once praised Mao Zedong. But she’s now part of a revolving door of communications staffers who go back and forth between the Biden administration and SKDK the firm where Dunn works (she’s the D in the name). In March, when Dunn was on her second stint with the current White House the Post published a chart showing some of the connections.
As Sexton notes, with her various positions, she’s managed to avoid disclosure and ethics rules.
Let’s also not forget about Dunn counseled Harvey Weinstein, as well. Have I said “not a good look,” yet?