President Joe Biden undermined White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre with quick comments just before she was officially sworn in, two people with direct knowledge of the exchange told The New York Times. ) told.
After Jean-Pierre was chosen to replace former press secretary Jen Psaki, Biden tried to encourage and comfort Jean-Pierre, according to two people with direct knowledge of their interactions. Said New York Times. Biden told Jean-Pierre not to worry about starting his new role and assured him that White House National Security Council Press Secretary John Kirby would be there to help, the people said. told the NYT. However, the line reportedly never arrived. (Related: 'End it!': John Kirby slams reporter who suggests US is to blame for 'escalation' with Iran)
“You're going to have an admiral looking over your shoulder,” Biden reportedly told Jean-Pierre. Despite efforts to sound encouraging, sources told the NYT that the comments missed the mark.
According to the NYT, the White House press secretary completely denied any exchange took place.
According to Axios, there has been tension between Kirby and Jean-Pierre as they have appeared on the podium more often since becoming press secretary. Since Hamas launched terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7, Kirby has frequently participated in press conferences, often answering more questions than Jean-Pierre, the NYT reported. .
As Kirby's popularity grows, there is tension over sharing the podium, Axios reported. Mr. Kirby continues to attend news conferences because the president likes him, and Mr. Biden has even asked the press secretary to accompany him on domestic and international trips.
Kirby has expressed interest in becoming press secretary, Axios reported, but Jean-Pierre has previously indicated he would like to stay on until the election if the president wishes.
As the podium sharing continued, Axios reported that Kirby expressed frustration with Jean-Pierre calling in reporters instead of doing it himself.
A White House official denied to Axios that there was any reported tension between Mr. Kirby and Mr. Jean-Pierre.
“This explanation of their relationship is completely incomprehensible. The truth is just the opposite, they talk all the time and have a camaraderie and supportive relationship,” a source told the outlet.