White House Wars: Kirby Vs. Jean-Pierre In Fight To Control Briefing Podium

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, right, accompanied by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, left, takes a question from a reporter at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Tensions between White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Council member John Kirby are erupting behind the scenes.

Sources say the relationship between the two is fraught with tension, and this is becoming a significant issue as the Biden administration gears up for a tough re-election campaign.

Kirby, who is a favorite of President Biden, has become the public face of the administration’s response to the Israel-Hamas war. He has expressed a desire to become White House press secretary, according to insiders. Meanwhile, Jean-Pierre has reportedly told people that she plans to stay in the job through the election and beyond if Biden wants her.

The clash between the two top-ranking spokespeople is further complicated by the fact that there are two press secretaries in practice, albeit one in name, with one focused on domestic policy and the other on foreign policy.

Jean-Pierre and Kirby are frequently seen splitting the podium at media briefings, but their recent increase in joint appearances, particularly following the Israel-Hamas conflict, is only causing tensions to mount further.

The situation is not new, however. Sources say that the conflict began in the spring of 2022 when Jen Psaki left her role as press secretary. The issue of podium time is also a source of discontent between the two. It remains unclear whether the two can put their differences aside and work together amicably.