White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: Incompetent but Protected by DEI

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: Incompetent but Protected by DEI

The following is an updated version of a column originally published in December 2022.

One of the bestselling books of the 1970s was “The Peter Principle,” a business management book by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull.

The book’s premise was that employees get promoted based on their performance in their previous jobs until they are ultimately elevated to a position in which they’re incompetent, since skills and success in one position don’t necessarily ensure success in the next. “In a hierarchy,” Peter explained, “every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

If “The Peter Principle” were published today, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would be a case study in the phenomenon, now called “failing upward.” In Jean-Pierre’s case, that’s reflected in her work for the short-lived Democratic presidential campaigns of John Edwards in 2004 and Martin O’Malley in 2016, and now as the chief spokeswoman for the Biden administration. On Monday, she will mark her second anniversary in that role.

In recent weeks, however, with the 2024 election campaign shifting into high gear, there have been well-sourced reports that high-ranking figures in the Biden administration are not-so-subtly seeking to push Jean-Pierre out of the role—for which she was never qualified to begin with. Many of the same administration figures reportedly behind those efforts to oust her are, not surprisingly, denying the accuracy of the reports.

The New York Post quoted a source as saying the high-ranking administration figures “‘were trying to find Karine a graceful exit’ because of the ugly optics of removing her against her will,” especially because she thinks she’s doing a good job. (One face-saving exit strategy was to offer her the presidency of EMILY’s List, an abortion rights group.)

But as a textbook example of an affirmative-action hire, Jean-Pierre appears not to be going anywhere. An administration so thoroughly wedded to so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion is, in this case, now finding it difficult to divorce itself from DEI. (More on that below.)

The most glaring evidence that Jean-Pierre, 49, has been promoted to her level of incompetence as White House press secretary is her near-total dependence on a binder full of administration talking points, which she often reads from directly at her daily news briefings to the White House press corps.

It’s so bad that Fox News commentator Jesse Watters has taken to referring to her derisively as “Binder,” and it’s so, well, cringeworthy that other critics deliberately mispronounce “Karine” as “Cringe.”

Just as an aside, recall how 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was ridiculed mercilessly in the liberal media for saying during the second presidential debate that he had “binders full of women.” That was his awkward way of referring to files of résumés of women he would consider for staffing his administration were he to win the election. Many of the talking heads’ “binder” jokes snarkily suggested that the squeaky-clean Romney was engaged in some form of BDSM with those women.

It’s standard operating procedure for a press secretary to have notes for ready reference. It’s quite another thing to stare down at them and read those notes all but verbatim.

As far as we know, none of the talking heads who ridiculed Romney has ever mentioned—much less made fun of—Jean-Pierre’s near-complete dependence on her press-briefing binders. Nor have they satirized her oft-repeated deflection—“I don’t have anything for you”—when she doesn’t have answers to questions for which she’s unprepared.

Nor have the liberal media (or the late-night TV comics) noted, much less lampooned, how Jean-Pierre has mispronounced or mangled words and phrases in the course of her press briefings.

On Dec. 13, 2022, Jean-Pierre touted “bicarmel” support in Congress for the so-called Respect for Marriage Act. “Bicarmel, bipartisan support was had for this piece of legislation,” she said.

But this was no one-off slip of the tongue: She used the term “bicarmel” three times to describe it in the course of the half-hour press briefing. It should have been “bicameral,” of course; meaning, support in both chambers of Congress.

The official White House transcript of the briefing was dishonestly corrected in all three instances to “bicameral” with no indication that it was not an accurate reflection of what was actually said.

On Nov. 28, 2022, in congratulating three Americans who had won Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics, and economics, she mispronounced “Nobel” five times in 40 seconds as “noble.”

Two months to the day earlier, on Sept. 28, Jean-Pierre said that as part of Vice President Kamala Harris’ then-pending trip to South Korea, the veep would visit the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas. Jean-Pierre helpfully noted that it had been “nearly 70 years since the Korean ‘armtis’”—not to be confused with the Korean armistice.

Three weeks before that, on Sept. 6, Jean-Pierre conflated a Russian natural gas pipeline with an upscale American department store chain. She accused Russia of causing an energy crisis in Europe by shutting down its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which she referred to as the “Nordstrom 1” pipeline.

One can only imagine how former President Donald Trump’s press secretaries, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and later Kayleigh McEnany, would have been pilloried by the liberal White House press corps had they made those sorts of repeated verbal gaffes.

One reason Jean-Pierre still has the high-visibility press secretary’s job, to which she was elevated on May 13, 2022, despite all of the gaffes, is because President Joe Biden is legendary for his own innumerable flubs and miscues.

“White House communications staff has had to correct President Joe Biden’s public remarks at least 148 times since the beginning of 2024, a review of official White House transcripts shows,” the Daily Caller reported April 29. Biden couldn’t very well hold Jean-Pierre to a higher standard, could he?

But the real reason Jean-Pierre remains in her post today is because of the identity politics to which the Biden administration and the Democratic Party have sworn undying allegiance. She is immune from criticism—and from reassignment to a less high-profile post—only because she checks all of the boxes of identity-politics “intersectionality” as the first black, first LGBTQ, and first immigrant White House press secretary.

In the Biden administration, Jean-Pierre demonstrates daily that meritocracy is an afterthought—if it’s thought of at all. The moral of this story: Live by DEI, die by it.

Original source

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.