White House responds to reported secret plot to oust Karine Jean-Pierre

The White House pushed back against a report that it tried to oust top spox Karine Jean-Pierre, a major embarrassment with her incompetence on full display to the media during daily press briefings.

Last week, the New York Post dropped a bombshell with its scoop that a “coup” by President Joe Biden’s top advisers to rid the administration of the prickly diversity hire had failed and that fear of the bad optics of dumping the historic first black lesbian to hold the position is a serious concern.

According to the paper, senior Biden adviser Anita Dunn sought to recruit outside influences to “nudge her out the door” by convincing Jean-Pierre that “the time was ripe to move on,” which she has refused to do.

“Not only are these claims wildly false, but the reality is the polar opposite. Karine was never approached by anyone with such a message. She spends four hours preparing every day. And neither Jeff nor Anita did any such thing; both have been unflinchingly supportive of her,” deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates told the outlet.

One of the issues with Jean-Pierre is that she appears to be completely in over her head and relies far too much on a binder of notes that she routinely flips through when stumped by a question by a member of the typically compliant press, a tendency that critics have often ridiculed.

“Every press secretary uses the binder. Why is she being singled out?” Bates asked.

The Post reported that Dunn’s “cloak-and-dagger scheme” was known to White House chief of staff Jeff Zients who was supportive of the effort, according to an anonymous source.

“There were a number of people she asked to engage Karine,” said a source who reportedly heard of the plot directly from the horse’s mouth, referring to Dunn.

“There was an effort to have some outside folks who Karine knows and trusts talk to her about why leaving last fall would have made a lot of sense for her and her career,” the source told the Post, describing it as an “effort to encourage her to move along.”

“Jeff and Anita were trying to find Karine a graceful exit,” another source told the paper, citing the “ugly optics” if she were to be taken off the job against her will.

“There’s a huge diversity issue and they’re afraid of what folks are going to say,” the source added, noting the obvious issues with firing a diversity hire which would bring howls of racism and homophobia from Jean-Pierre’s supporters.

Earlier this year, it was reported that tensions are simmering between Jean-Pierre and White House National Security Communications advisor John Kirby who is a far more polished spokesperson and said to be a favorite of Biden.

“Kirby — a Biden favorite who has become the public face of the administration’s response to the Israel-Hamas war — has told people he’d like to be White House press secretary one day,” Axios reported, adding, “Jean-Pierre has told people she plans to stay in the job through the election and beyond if Biden wants her — and that he has asked her not to leave.”

Axios quoted officials who downplay the idea that there’s friction between the two but adds that “several other White House sources say Jean-Pierre was wary of Kirby from the beginning.”

“I think everyone’s resigned to the fact that she’s not going anywhere on her own,” one of the sources told the New York Post, admitting that Jean-Pierre is dug in deeper than the proverbial Alabama tick.

Chris Donaldson


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