Allies of the White House press secretary believe the Biden administration has “set her up for failure” by having John Kirby, a white man, standing by and leading foreign policy leadership, according to a report by Politico.
The report outlined the challenges of Jean-Pierre, who took over for Jen Psaki in May and became the first openly LGBTQ and black press secretary at the White House.
The report highlighted instances where Jean-Pierre was unable to give a substantive response to questions by reporters. West Wing Playbook reviewed transcripts from her time as press secretary and found that she had trouble answering reporters’ questions 20 times more often than her predecessor, Psaki.
After being pressed by reporters in June, she was unable to explain why President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Action to boost clean energy manufacturing. Later that month, when Fox News reporter Peter Doocy questioned her on how electric vehicles might be the answer to high gasoline prices for average Americans, she abruptly ended her media briefing, The Blaze reports.
The report by Politico appears to show her allies blaming John Kirby and the Biden administration for these events. According to the report, various Black communications officials in and outside of the administration, as well as allies of Jean-Pierre, feel White House leadership has set her up to fail by having Kirby, a white man who was in the running for her job, hover nearby and make foreign policy decisions.
Politico also spoke to White House reporters about Jeanne-Pierre’s performance.
“At a certain point it wouldn’t surprise me if people started voting with their feet,” said one reporter who suggested that journalists may stop attending media briefings unless Jean-Pierre can give more detailed responses.
“She is so focused on not making a mistake that she doesn’t let herself speak freely,” said another reporter. They added, “It appears that she’s reading from a page.”
The White House responded to criticism, saying that they had no intentions on immediately dropping Jean-Pierre, though they added that changes may come after the midterm elections. Speaking of Politico’s report, a White House official told Fox News: “If you work at a place called ‘Politico‘ and you think it’s noteworthy that the RNC or DNC is attacking a press secretary from the other party, you have some reading to do.”
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