(William Haupt III, The Center Square) “Most reporters in the galley are handpicked by the president and won’t put you on the spot. If you don’t know the answer, tell them so. Don’t make a fool of yourself making excuses. ” – Jen Psaki
During the early years of our government, reporters were not allowed in the White House except on special occasions. Most legislative sessions were off limits out of fear they would tarnish the image of the new government. For years, they’d wait outside the capitol to catch up with senators or representatives to get a scoop of federal news. They had little contact directly with the president or his staff.
In 1904, Teddy Roosevelt invited rain-soaked reporters into the White House. They were awestruck that he offered them an office to work in and brought them coffee and food. And this was the birth of the White House Press Corps. Soon, reporters grew in presence and this terrarium of newsmen morphed into the outpost that repeated White House approved news to influence public opinion.
The White House press secretary is a liaison between the president and reporters to keep him off the hot seat. They are presidential favorites, with or without experience. Some have done their job well, while others failed. Some made contentious statements; others were soft-spoken. All must be loyal to the president and defend his actions. They must be a beacon of confidence on the podium.
The position of White House press secretary is an extremely challenging job. That individual must know a great deal about politics and current events. They must know the president’s agenda and his opinions and react without hesitation. It’s a tough job and a baptism of fire in front of the nation.
“The press secretary’s job is so arduous few presidents could handle it themselves.” – Nikki Hale
Press secretaries speak for the president. It is important they are chosen for their experience not their gender or their race. Yet when Jen Psaki left to take a job at MSNBC, Joe Biden hired novice Karine Jean-Pierre because she checked the boxes. She is black, a woman and she is openly gay.
The only political experience that Jean-Pierre had was short-lived jobs working on the Democratic presidential campaigns of Barack Obama in 2008, John Edwards in 2004 and Martin O’Malley in 2016. Since accepting this job in May, Jean-Pierre has responded to reporters with “I don’t have anything on that,” or, “I’ll get back to you on that issue later” at least 100 times in the briefing room.
From day one on the job, she has not given a clear, succinct answer to most questions. She talks in circles as if she is avoiding saying anything she thinks Joe Biden might not approve of or make her look ignorant. Her responses are more like meaningless word salads much the same as you would get from Kamala Harris. She acts like someone on trial who has no attorney defending themselves.
Jean-Pierre’s near-total dependence on a binder full of administration talking points is distracting. This is a book compiled for her by Biden’s advisors with indexed notes for her to reference if she needs to clarify a topic. She frantically pages through this book looking for answers these reporters already know and just want clarified. When she can’t find the answer she says, “I have nothing on that.”
“I never trust anyone who must look inside a book to answer a simple question.” – Kelly Sadler
It’s one thing for a press secretary to have notes for reference. But it shows her lack of confidence and knowledge when she stares down at them constantly and reads those notes verbatim. Unlike her predecessor, Jen Psaki, she had Biden’s talking points down cold and she didn’t need a crutch.
Lately, Jean-Pierre has been claiming that she can’t answer questions since it would be in violation of the Hatch Act. “The Hatch Act is federal law intended to prevent citizens working in government from taking advantage of their government positions to campaign for candidates or their parties.” Obviously someone on the Left told her to use that as an excuse if she cannot answer a question.
Recently, when queried that most economists agree that the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” might affect inflation in the long-term in some way but it will do nothing short-term, Jean-Pierre stoically retorted, “Well, I mean, that’s something we disagree on – so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Jean-Pierre inherited Biden gaff syndrome. Congratulating three Americans who won Nobel Prizes in chemistry, she confused “Nobel” five times as “noble.” She also conflated Russia’s “Nord Stream 1” natural gas pipeline with the upscale department store, “Nostrums.” and repeated it three times.
Karine Jean-Pierre has had jobs in public service but she has never had a position where she had to openly react and think on her feet. Also, as a committed progressive, she overtly tries to inject her progressive beliefs into answers at her briefings, which violates her obligation to repeat facts.
One reporter said the reason why Karine Jean-Pierre still has the high-visibility press secretary’s job despite all of the gaffes is because Biden is legendary for his own innumerable gaffes. And it would be highly hypocritical and embarrassing for him to hold her to a higher standard than himself.
Laurence Peter, author of the “Peter Principle,” wrote, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” People are hired or promoted for various reasons, many are totally unrelated to their new position and they do not do well. The types of jobs that Jean-Pierre had in the past did not qualify or train her for a position of this type, which is a living example of the Washington “Peter Principle.”
The GOP, the media and even some Democrats wonder how long Jean-Pierre can keep her White House press pass: As long as she wants to. While campaigning, Biden promised he’d fill the White House with identity groups, and put them in key positions. Since 20% of his voting base is black, the NAACP and other liberal black activist groups are holding his feet to the fire on Jean-Pierre.
The Democratic Party has sworn undying allegiance to identity politics. Biden made a deal with the devil when the DNC offered him the job he always wanted by default. Over half of the original black staffers for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have left in the past two years. Others said they plan to be leaving soon, since there is no chance for advancement and their jobs are mediocre and boring.
The role of the press secretary has evolved into a position of prominence. People consider them the closest person to the president and they are his mouthpiece. Joe Biden shot himself in the foot by giving such a high profile position to Jean-Pierre. She has no clue about foreign policy so John Kirby is now bailing her out. How long will Biden sacrifice the future of his party for Jean-Pierre?
The left’s reliance on identity politics proves that the Peter Principle has taken over Washington.
“Karine Jean-Pierre has very friendly reporters. They’re never going to be particularly tough with her. And she’s still incompetent and incoherent. She’s bad on a good day.” – Mollie Hemingway