No matter who is president and no matter what party they belong to, there are always going to be complaints from some in the White House Press Corps about those who are tasked with speaking on behalf of the White House – most notably, the press secretaries.
The complaints usually include but are not limited to one or more of the following: alleged unfairness over certain outlets being called on too much, not being called on at all or “not often enough,” the perception that the press secretary does not make him or herself more available in the hours outside of the official briefings for additional questions, the belief that the press secretary is too combative and/or plays favorites, the idea that the press secretary would rather insult their intelligence than answer questions to the best of their ability, ending briefings “too early,” seating chart woes, etc.
In the case of current White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, however, the complaints are stacking up that she’s simply not up to the task, so much so that CNN’s Oliver Darcy of all people is reporting that things have reached a “boiling point” between Jean-Pierre and numerous reporters in the briefing room:
From Darcy’s newsletter:
That is according to conversations I had on Wednesday with more than a half-dozen White House reporters who painted a picture of a White House press corps that has grown exasperated with Jean-Pierre and does not believe she is well equipped to handle their inquiries. The reporters, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely, pointed to Jean-Pierre’s insistence on sticking to talking points and an episode last week where a key assertion she made from the podium ultimately did not hold up.
“She is arguably the least effective White House press secretary of the television era,” one veteran White House reporter told me on Wednesday, adding that the comparison excluded the Trump White House.
Concerns inside the press corps with Jean-Pierre are not new. She has openly struggled to field basic questions inside the briefing room, relying, in agonizing fashion at times, on her binder of talking points to respond to simple inquiries. But the tension has escalated in recent days as President Joe Biden is confronted with questions about his past handling of classified documents.
“I think you can tell the temperature has gone up a lot in the last few days,” one White House reporter remarked to me on Wednesday.
The tension has indeed been palpable in recent days as reporters seek more answers in the Biden classified documents scandal. For example, a number of reporters clashed big time with Jean-Pierre during the Tuesday briefing over her inability to keep the story straight, and for giving answers that were demonstrably untrue.
But while this story has all the elements of “you know you’ve got problems when you’re a Democrat and you’ve lost the normally Democrat-compliant press,” there’s also another element to it – one that suggests someone very high up is also not pleased with Jean-Pierre’s failure to effectively provide cover for the umpteen lies of the Biden administration:
My guess? White House chief of staff (and Biden co-president) Ron Klain. Don’t be surprised if in a few short weeks we find out that Jean-Pierre has “decided” to step down in order to “spend more time with family.” The problem is that her back-ups have the same problem: