Biden spokesman John Kirby is getting promoted

February 12, 2024

There is a major shakeup underway in the White House public relations team.

John Kirby, one of Biden's most familiar spokesmen, is getting promoted to assistant to the president and national security communications adviser. 

A familiar face from cable TV and the White House briefing room, Kirby is known for his slick delivery of the administration's talking points. Kirby will now be in charge of all national security messaging for Biden.

The president is facing a number of pressing foreign policy challenges, including the war in Ukraine and the war between Israel and Hamas.

White House shakeup

Before joining the current administration, Kirby was an admiral in the Navy and a spokesman for the Pentagon and State Department under President Obama.

He became the Pentagon's top spokesman once again after Biden's inauguration in 2021 and moved to the National Security Council (NSC) a year later.

His new role is being kept separate from the NSC's press team.

"Admiral Kirby's decades of high level national security experience and his clear, strategic insights make him a deeply valued communicator and adviser on this team," senior adviser to the president Anita Dunn said in a statement.

"President Biden is proud to have John leading national security message coordination across the administration as we continue to make a forceful case for our national security interests at home and in the world."

Tension in the briefing room

The former Navy admiral is already the administration's go-to spokesperson for national security issues, and in many ways, he has begun to overshadow Biden's official spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre.

While it would appear that Kirby is rising in the president's confidence, Jean-Pierre has faced ridicule for being clumsy and overly reliant on pre-prepared talking points.

There have been tensions between the two: Jean-Pierre controls which reporters Kirby is allowed to call on, something insiders see as a sign of insecurity, Axios reported. 

She left an initial meeting with Biden confused about her role when told she would be working with Kirby, who joined the White House two weeks after her promotion to White House press secretary.

Kirby certainly gives off an ambitious air - and he has told others he would like to have Jean-Pierre's job.

With his latest promotion, he's already halfway there.

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