One can only think the White House wanted this news to go unnoticed, seeing as it’s breaking right in the middle of the Super Bowl.
But it is news: John Kirby, previously of the wordy title “United States National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications,” is getting promoted and will have an expanded role at the White House, officials told Reuters.
It sounds like he will have direct access to President Biden:
Kirby, who in past years has served as the top spokesperson at both the Pentagon and the State Department, will have a new title – White House national security communications adviser – and will be elevated to an assistant to the president from deputy assistant.
John Kirby is getting a promotion, “will run a separate team from the [WH] national security press team that will coordinate info across agencies”
The chatter in DC is he loves his expanded influence despite the significant public criticism he’s received.https://t.co/CleP3mZPqE
— Akbar Shahid Ahmed (@AkbarSAhmed) February 11, 2024
One can’t help but wonder how poor WH Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre feels about this, considering that her poor performance at the podium had led to rumors that Kirby would take on a featured role at her expense.
Is that what we’re seeing here?
Uh-Oh: Internal Battle Breaks Out Between Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby
KJP Channels Her Inner Kamala, Delivers Rambling Minute-Long Word Salad on Border That Says Nothing
Kirby’s expanded role will have him handling communications strategy for several departments:
The move is likely prompted by the horrendous messaging strategy that has plagued the White House on matters from the border, Biden’s mental health, and the economy.
While Kirby is clearly more adept than KJP at the press briefing podium, he’s not without his share of, shall we say, unfortunate appearances.
Trainwreck: Kirby Admits Making False Statement About Who Was Informed Before Airstrikes on Militants
NSC’s John Kirby Tries, Fails to Defuse Lloyd Austin Saga
It remains to be seen if Kirby can significantly improve the lot of the Biden administration. The obvious problem is, messaging can only take you so far—you can run a thousand commercials, but if your product stinks, people still won’t buy it.
The hurdle facing this bunch is not that their communications are lame—although they are—it’s that you can’t “message” your way around a failed administration.
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