White House Brass Reportedly Tried To Give KJP The Boot

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Top aides and communications staff at the White House attempted to give White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre the boot by recruiting outside allies, the New York Post reported Friday.

White House communications staff Anita Dunn allegedly told colleagues to communicate with prominent Democrats in an attempt to convince Jean-Pierre to step down and “move along” with her career, sources told the New York Post. She reportedly did so with the support of White House chief of staff Jeff Zients.

“There were a number of people she asked to engage Karine,” a source told the Post.

Sources said both Zients and Dunn were attempting “to fine Karine a graceful exit” to avoid the negative optics of forcibly removing the first black woman and lesbian to serve as the press secretary, according to the Post.

“There’s a huge diversity issue and they’re afraid of what folks are going to say,” a source told the Post.

White House staffers appear doubtful that Dunn’s efforts will be successful, as Jean-Pierre appears willing to stay “come hell or high water,” according to the Post. Staffers believe Jean-Pierre relies too heavily on notes from the binder and lacks understanding of the issues at hand despite believing she is doing “an amazing job,” a source told the Post.

“Karine doesn’t have an understanding of the issues and she reads the book [binder] word-for-word,” a source said. “She doesn’t have a grasp of the issues and doesn’t spend the time to learn.”

“I think everyone’s resigned to the fact that she’s not going anywhere on her own,” one source added. “She thinks she’s doing a really good job and thinks the president wants her to stay.”

A separate source said Jean-Pierre does not fulfill the “level of work” necessary to prepare for the briefings, the Post reported.

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates denied that either Dunn or Zients are pushing to remove the press secretary.

“Not only are these claims wildly false, but the reality is the polar opposite. Karine was never approached by anyone with such a message. She spends four hours preparing every day. And neither Jeff nor Anita did any such thing; both have been unflinchingly supportive of her. Every press secretary uses the binder. Why is she being singled out?” (RELATED: ‘Unprecedented’: KJP’s Worst Fears Appear To Be Coming True) 

Zients praised Jean-Pierre as “an incredibly talented communicator” and said the White House is “lucky to have her” on the team in a statement to the Post.

“The President and everyone in the White House deeply values Karine — she is an incredibly talented communicator and trusted advisor who keeps a cool head in any crisis and always has your back. We are lucky to have her on the core team advancing the President’s historic agenda every day.”

Jean-Pierre denied an offer to become president of EMILY’s List, a group raising money for Democratic female candidates supporting abortion, the Post reported. The press secretary told NBC News that she is “committed to the president” and is “not going anywhere” shortly after rejecting the offer.

Speculation has risen that Dunn was behind the EMILY’s List offer, according to the New York Post.

Dunn reportedly pushed back at Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi’s Dec. 11 article pointing out that National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby has increased his presence at the White House briefings, according to the Post.

“I am happy to talk to [Farhi]. And tell him KJP isn’t going anywhere so this is a ridiculous piece,” Dunn reportedly wrote in an email.

Nearly a dozen Democrats and those working closely with the White House said they are unaware of the alleged plan to oust Jean-Pierre, according to the Post. These sources agreed Dunn does not appear to dislike or hold any hard feelings toward the press secretary.

“I witnessed Jeff and Anita coming pretty hard to Karine’s defense after [the January Axios report on Kirby wanting to call on reporters himself] and asking others to do the same,” one Democrat told the Post.

A source supporting the press secretary reportedly said Dunn backed Jean-Pierre replacing her predecessor Jen Psaki, who stepped down from her position in May 2022, according to the Post.

Kirby has taken over the podium at most briefings since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel, which have reportedly led to “serious tension,” the Post reported. One source said Jean-Pierre has been “pretty aggressive” and behaves coldly toward Kirby when he is speaking to her.

Biden reportedly told Jean-Pierre she would have Kirby “over her shoulder” before she had officially started her position, The New York Times reported in February. A spokesperson for the White House denied that his interaction ever took place.