Karine Jean-Pierre is a terrible White House press secretary

For beleaguered White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, things are going sideways in a manner that’s reached comic proportions. While her boss President Biden runs around giving operatic and menacing speeches in front of blood-red backdrops, Jean-Pierre is left at the White House podium. Holding the bag. And so far, it isn’t going well.

Take her Tuesday press briefing, for example. Most of the reporters were teeing up rhetorical golf balls for her, but Jean-Pierre somehow managed to appear incompetent and hopeless, not once, not twice, but three times.

The first of the perplexing questions KJP flubbed concerned Sen. Ted Cruz’s invitation to visit the southern border and see the crisis there. You’d think that would be a reasonable suggestion given that only a tiny fraction of the migrants in Texas have supposedly crippled New York City, Washington, DC, and now Chicago in their modest busloads.

But no, a self-righteous Jean-Pierre declared, “I certainly don’t need lectures or invitations from Republicans about the border or border policies.” This only after saying she had been to the border back in 2018 when the Trump administration was “tearing babies out of their mothers’ arms.” Dramatic. She had no answer. She proffered no plan. Instead, she offered a farcical Dickens tale, and the deadly border crisis continues apace.

On a lighter note, when asked during Tuesday’s presser about Russian attempts to weaponize energy, Jean-Pierre cited Putin shutting down the “Nordstrom 1” pipeline. What? Is he cutting off Germany’s supply of Louboutin open-toe sandals and Hermès scarves? Or is it just Nordstrom Rack?

But the real winner in this hat trick of hair-brained replies came when a reporter confronted the press secretary with her past tweets saying former President Donald Trump and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp had stolen their election victories. Given all the recent hue and cry about the semi-fascism of those who dispute election results, the obvious question was asked: “If denying election results is extreme now, why wasn’t it then?”

At first, Jean-Pierre just chuckled and said she knew this question was coming — which is odd since if that’s true you’d imagine she would have had some reasonable answer at the ready. Instead, she said, “Let’s be really clear, that comparison you made is just ridiculous.”

Wait, what? That’s not really clear at all. It sounds like she’s saying that when she or Hillary Clinton or Stacey Abrams say an election was stolen, that’s just talk, no big deal. But when Republicans do it, it’s a threat to the very fabric of the American experiment. But that can’t be right because it makes no sense. Not that that has mattered to Biden’s team before.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mistakenly called the Nord Stream 1 Pipeline "Nordstrom" during a press conference.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mistakenly called the Nord Stream 1 Pipeline “Nordstrom” during a press conference.
Evelyn Hockstein/REUTERS

These days we can all use a laugh, and the daily White House press briefing provides a plethora. But what we don’t get are any real answers. For example, the president says “MAGA Republicans” are a dark and dangerous force in America. Is that 70 million people or a handful of elected officials? Is it the whole “MAGA philosophy,” whatever that is, or just a few individuals? Nobody knows, and the story changes every day.

It’s bad enough we have a commander in chief who can’t speak for two minutes without angrily yelling, weirdly whispering or launching into labyrinthian old-man stories that go nowhere. The press secretary is supposed to translate for Grandpa Joe, but she might be less comprehensible than he is.

Say what you will about former press secretary Jen Psaki and her oft-times questionable relationship with the truth, at least when she put words together they made somewhat sensible sentences. Even for the carnival of incompetence that is the Biden administration, that shouldn’t be too much to ask.

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