WOMP, WOMP: Axios Reports KJP, John Kirby Don’t Exactly Get Along

January 5th, 2024 1:09 PM

Axios’s lead story on Friday morning by Alex Thompson was one of the least surprising revelations for anyone who’s observed a White House press briefing: the impressively incompetent Karine Jean-Pierre seems to be jealous and upset with having to share so many briefings with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

Why? It’s obvious as Kirby, unlike Jean-Pierre, has a grasp of the English language and shown a basic level of competence in handling of issues in his portfolio, such as Israel vs. Hamas war. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s even smacked down a few reporters for their pro-Hamas takes.

“They share a podium — and a mutual frustration. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and the National Security Council's John Kirby frequently split the podium at media briefings, but behind the scenes their relationship is fraught with tension, White House sources tell Axios,” Thompson began.

He added that such an iciness could bode ill for President Biden as he has not one, but two spokespeople with Kirby now taking almost-daily questions from reporters on foreign policy issues beyond Israel vs. Hamas and Jean-Pierre left with the scraps.

Despite Jean-Pierre checking off three spaces on a diversity bingo card (woman, African-American, and LGBTQ), Thompson said Kirby’s “a Biden favorite” and” has told people he'd like to be White House press secretary one day.”

Thompson explained that, barring quitting, Jean-Pierre is stuck with this arrangement since “Biden likes it” with Kirby having “become more influential publicly and behind the scenes as he has developed a close relationship with the president” to the point that the President “frequently asks for Kirby to personally brief him” with Mao Zedong enthusiast and Biden aide Anita Dunn now having him join Biden “on...domestic trips.”

Thompson even did the math that, since Hamas’s October 7 terror attack, there’s been “more than 30 press briefings and gaggles” and “Jean-Pierre has briefed reporters solo just once — during a gaggle on Air Force One.”

Cue the race hustlers currently raising hell over Claudine Gay facing consequences for plagiarism. Look out, Alex and John! Al Sharpton might picket outside your place next!

Kirby, for his part, has reportedly become “frustrat[ed]” by Jean-Pierre still calling on reporters for him to take questions from with Thompson’s sources stating another obvious point, which is it’s a sign of Jean-Pierre’s “insecur[ity].”

Instead of wondering if this was due in large part to Jean-Pierre’s incompetence, Thompson carried water and fretted Kirby’s role really hadn’t existed in previous administrations (click “expand”):

The intrigue: But several other White House sources say Jean-Pierre was wary of Kirby         from the beginning.

  • When Biden offered Jean-Pierre the press secretary job in 2022, he awkwardly added that Kirby also would be joining and that they'd be a team, Jean-Pierre told people afterward.
  • Jean-Pierre left the meeting with Biden upset and confused about whether she actually had the job and what Kirby's role would be, according to three people familiar with her comments at the time.


National Security Council leaders then were told, to their surprise, that Kirby — the two-time Pentagon press secretary and State Department press secretary — would join their team.

  • After haggling over what Kirby's role would be, the White House and the NSC settled on the title of "coordinator for strategic communications."
  • Kirby, however, doesn't supervise or report to the NSC communications director. His role is more focused on public communications than coordinating messaging across the administration.


Zoom out: Many current and former Biden officials argue that Klain and Dunn are responsible for the current tension, saying the unusual setup is unfair to both Jean-Pierre and Kirby.

The piece ended with even more fun (alongside more insinuations of Jean-Pierre being under the gun because she’s a black) as Thompson revealed Jean-Pierre has had a “bumpy” relationship with her own top deputy, Olivia Dalton, has “voiced frustrations” with having helmed only one briefing last year.