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NY Times Claims John Kirby Is Overshadowing Black Colleague Karine Jean-Pierre

On the historic day Karine Jean-Pierre became the first Black and openly gay White House press secretary, she voiced aspirations that her appointment would inspire others who, like her, never imagined holding such a prominent role in political communications.

However, a recent New York Times article suggests that amid the ongoing Middle East crisis, Jean-Pierre has taken a backseat to her lower-ranking colleague, John F. Kirby.

Since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, Jean-Pierre has shared the spotlight with John F. Kirby, a retired Navy admiral renowned for his background in foreign affairs.

“While the White House attributes Kirby’s increased role to the flurry of international news, questions linger about the perception that President Biden has allowed a white male to overshadow a Black woman as the face of his administration.” New York Times.

The article delves into the delicate dynamics between Jean-Pierre and Kirby, emphasizing Kirby’s expertise in foreign affairs during a time of unprecedented global crises. While both Jean-Pierre and Kirby declined to be interviewed for the piece, they each issued statements praising the other, fostering a sense of mutual respect in public.

The evolving situation is explored concerning Kirby’s recent promotion to White House national security communications adviser, a position that not only underscores his growing responsibilities but also elevates him to a title equivalent to Jean-Pierre’s as an “assistant to the president.”

The article revisits the origins of Jean-Pierre’s appointment as press secretary, revealing that despite initial misgivings from some senior aides who believed she needed more seasoning for the role, she was chosen for her unique experiences as a daughter of Caribbean immigrants.

Her background includes serving as Northeast political director for the Obama White House, being Kamala Harris’s chief of staff during the 2020 election, and acting as a spokesperson for MoveOn.org.

It touches on the growing pains Jean-Pierre faced in her early days as press secretary, citing occasional reliance on talking points and a credibility issue stemming from an erroneous statement about classified documents at President Biden’s home.

The article notes that Kirby’s increasing prominence dates back to 2023, particularly during an incident involving a Chinese spy balloon, where he emerged as the face of the White House response.

The evolving situation is described as awkward, with details about an alleged comment Biden made to Jean-Pierre about having an admiral looking over her shoulder. The article acknowledges that Kirby has privately expressed a desire to become press secretary, revealing potential tensions between the two spokespersons.

The piece quotes White House officials who emphasize Jean-Pierre’s diverse media engagements, downplaying the focus on who has more time at the lectern in the briefing room. However, it also highlights signs that President Biden increasingly relies on individuals beyond Jean-Pierre to convey his message to the public, especially on topics like national security.

Despite the sensitivity surrounding the topic, the article explores the unspoken tensions and the perceptions in Washington. It places the situation in the broader context of diversity in the briefing room, reflecting on the lack of diversity historically and the potential challenges faced by Jean-Pierre as a trailblazer.

The piece concludes by quoting Jean-Pierre’s past statements about the significance of her role and the hope that she makes people proud. It leaves readers contemplating the intricate balancing act between diversity, representation, and the evolving roles within the Biden administration’s communication team.

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Written by Aliyah Collins