REPORT: White House Coup was Created to Oust Karine Jean-Pierre

by Xara Aziz
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre talks to reporters during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 24, 2024 in Washington, DC. Jean-Pierre fielded questions about legislation President Joe Biden signed that morning for $80 billion in foreign aid, abortion arguments at the Supreme Court and other topics. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Top aides to President Biden devised a covert plan last fall to replace White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre by enlisting external allies to encourage her departure, according to a recent report in The New York Post.

Jean-Pierre, who made history in May 2022 as the first Black and openly gay person to hold the position, had a frustrating tendency to read prepared answers from a binder during her briefings—providing what her superiors saw as an unconvincing message for the 81-year-old Biden as he prepared for his re-election campaign.

Anita Dunn, 66, the de facto White House communications chief and wife of Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer, informed colleagues of her decision to bring in prominent Democrats to convey to Jean-Pierre, 49, that it was time to move on, according to sources.

“There were a number of people she asked to engage Karine,” said one source who heard of the strategy directly from Dunn, whose role as senior adviser has been filled during the past three presidencies by Jared Kushner (Donald Trump), Valerie Jarrett (Barack Obama) and Karl Rove (George W. Bush).

The source also told the publication that Dunn asserted White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients was aware of and supported the covert plan to remove Jean-Pierre from the West Wing.

“There was an effort to have some outside folks who Karine knows and trusts talk to her about why leaving last fall would have made a lot of sense for her and her career,” the source said, calling it an “effort to encourage her to move along.”

Jean-Pierre, the person continued, “had been in the job for a year and a half at that point, which is a pretty standard tenure for a press secretary in what is admittedly a very demanding job [and] Jeff and Anita [tried] to have folks that she would listen to and trust talk to her about why it might be wise to do that.”

Jean Psaki, who Jean Pierre replaced, was press secretary just shy of a year and a half before accepting a role as an MSNBC host and analyst.

Another source told the outlet that “Jeff and Anita were trying to find Karine a graceful exit” because of the optics of sacking her without her knowledge.”

“There’s a huge diversity issue and they’re afraid of what folks are going to say,” the source, who said they learned of the effort from multiple people briefed by Dunn, also confirmed that at least one person from outside the administration did speak with Jean-Pierre.

The disclosure of Dunn’s plot is expected to make for difficult work dynamics, one source said, but the likelihood of Jean-Pierre leaving is close to none.

“She has been pretty consistent in telling people from the minute she got the job that she was going to stay through the election,” the source said. “I think Karine has decided to stay come hell or high water and that’s that.”

Although Jean-Pierre remains in her position, the issues that prompted Dunn’s failed efforts persist. Both sources indicate that the press secretary relies too heavily on notes, lacking the spontaneous pushback and quick-thinking repartee needed to effectively advocate for Biden’s cause.

“Karine doesn’t have an understanding of the issues and she reads the book [binder] word-for-word,” said the second source, adding that “she thinks she’s doing an amazing job.”

“She doesn’t have a grasp of the issues and doesn’t spend the time to learn,” this person said.

“These issues are not second nature to people. Israel and Gaza is a perfect example. It’s very nuanced. Jen would have calls with people to feel well-versed enough to go to the briefing.”

“There’s an enormous amount of work that goes into getting ready,” the first source said, “and consistently she does not put in that level of work.”

But White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said on the record to the publication that “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.”

He continued: “Every press secretary uses the binder. Why is she being singled out?”

Related Posts

Crown App