White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was stunned Friday when a reporter asked whether his repeated visits to the briefing room meant he was “the second press secretary” and became the White House’s chief spokesperson. Wally was undermining Karine Jean-Pierre, the first woman of color. ,
The head-turning interrogation came from Cameroonian journalist Simon Ateba—who was chosen by Jean-Pierre to ask Kirby a question, despite Kirby having a dispute over a similar topic.
“Sometimes you act like another press secretary,” Ateba told Kirby—voicing an observation made privately by other members of the White House press corps.
Ateba asked Kirby to “tell us what your job is” and added that he wanted to know, “What kind of questions should we ask you?”
“The reason I’m asking is because almost everywhere I go, I have black people telling me you’re the reason we’re undermining the first lady in the White House. [black] Press Secretary,” added Today News Africa’s Ateba.
Kirby, a former Pentagon press secretary, was widely seen as a contender to replace Jane Psaki as press secretary earlier this year – and after Jean-Pierre got the job in May, Kirby quickly Se joined the White House and began appearing with them. briefing room.
“If anyone has any thoughts that I’m taking away from Karine or her work it’s really regrettable,” Kirby replied to Ateba.
“And I’m very sorry that anyone would have such an impact. I’m only working on national security communications at the National Security Council – and with his good grace, I’m here sometimes only to talk to you about national security issues.” able to talk,” Kirby continued.
“That’s my portfolio. That’s where I’m confined. That’s where I’ll be. And I do it at his invitation and with his approval to be here.”
Jean-Pierre, 48, is the first non-white person, the first LGBT person, and the first immigrant to hold office. He was born in Martinique to Haitian parents and began his political career on the New York City Council.
The press secretary’s decision to summon Ateba to ask Kirby a question immediately sparked palace intrigue, as the reporter had made out with a potential rival of Jean-Pierre in the past.
On 4 August, Kirby lectured Ateba that he needed to show more “respect” during a press briefing when an African reporter attempted to shout a question about his job at Kirby.
Although it was not audible on the White House video feed, Ateba asked Kirby during that briefing if he was “auditing” to replace Jean-Pierre, according to several reporters in the room at the time.
The selection of Jean-Pierre to replace Psaki shocked many journalists who saw either Kirby or White House communications director Kate Bedingfield as strong candidates.
Although Jean-Pierre has outperformed expectations in some ways, he has also had embarrassing stumbling blocks—including the recent Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline being referred to as the “Nordstrom” pipeline, with department stores in the area. name has been used.