Karine Jean-Pierre Has a John Kirby Problem

(RepublicanJournal.org) – Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs John Kirby has been getting nearly as much press time as Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as of late. He began increasing his appearances after the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, and he has remained active in more recent press briefings despite the majority of Americans’ concerns being domestic. His increased participation could be a problem for Jean-Pierre, who has suffered harsh criticism throughout her work as a White House representative.

Kirby’s area of expertise is in military defense, and yet he has reportedly stepped on Jean-Pierre’s toes to answer questions on all kinds of subjects. The retired rear admiral’s official bio states that he started his work in the administration as Secretary of the Pentagon, working under Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He moved on to the State Department from there. Kirby became assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs in January 2021, advising Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on their public engagements. He also served as the chief spokesman for the Department of Defense.

Between October 2023 and February 2024, Kirby missed only three of the 22 press briefings the White House held. Perhaps just as significant, he responded to around the same number of questions as Jean-Pierre. The press secretary spoke for a total of about 11 hours and 31 minutes during that time, while Kirby spoke for about nine hours and 11 minutes.

The added time in the spotlight might not mean anything — but tensions between the two officials have already been high, and the prospect of changes occurring with the new presidential term could mean trouble for Jean-Pierre. The White House press secretary has suffered heavy criticism multiple times since she first took the job. Among the complaints, Fox News reports that she gave “40 seconds of total nonsense” in response to a question in immigration in March 2023. A few months later, according to NPR News, she was investigated for allegedly violating the Hatch Act when she made several negative references to “MAGA Republicans.”

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