White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre isn’t built for this crisis period. That’s the Biden administration: an endless cycle of crisis. Not one has been resolved; even air travel has worsened under Joe Biden. The economic recession is bound to get worse come Spring, a southern border remains porous, inflation is still high, and now we have this classified document scandal that could be the most embarrassing trip-up by this incompetent administration.
After the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago last summer over Trump possessing classified materials, there was much moral grandstanding from Democrats, Joe Biden, and the media. In January of 2023, Joe Biden was caught with troves of classified materials at multiple locations, including his residence in Wilmington, Delaware. Mar-a-Lago is protected by the Secret Service and staffed by those with proper security clearances—it’s a secure location. The issue was the process, and whether Trump followed proper protocols since serving as president of the United States, the Donald could declassify anything.
Joe wasn’t afforded that privilege as vice president under Obama. Some of the files were in his garage. And after Karine Jean Pierre declared the search for more Biden documents had concluded, more sensitive materials were found inside the Wilmington home. It’s a circus, and these files were also labeled ‘top secret.’ Biden has earned a special counsel investigation, along with Democrats infuriated that the moral high ground has been lost. It also means that Trump isn’t going to get indicted for mishandling classified materials, which was always a long shot since the office of the presidency has near-universal declassification powers.
There’s no defense for this, and it’s not a cakewalk. Any press secretary would be roasting from the heat hurled upon them by the press. It doesn’t help that the Biden White House refuses to explain why JoRo decided to leave the Obama administration with documents he could not possess. Democrats demand something to explain this fiasco—their strategists are also tossing around a new protocol: appoint a special spokesperson to handle all inquiries about Biden’s classified document circus (via NBC News) [emphasis mine]:
The White House declined to comment for this article.
One person familiar with the White House’s thinking said: “It’s easy from the outside to opine how the White House could and should have done this, but the people saying that probably not now nor ever have they been subject to a special counsel investigation or U.S. attorney review.”
Peppered with questions about the records in her daily briefings, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has pointed to past statements or referred reporters to other government officials. Asked by NBC News on Friday why the administration waited to publicly disclose the documents’ discovery until reporters learned of them, Jean-Pierre said: “Because it’s an ongoing process. Because, again, it’s an ongoing process. There is a process here. The Department of Justice is independent. We respect that process.”
Jennifer Palmieri, who served as communications director in the Obama White House, suggested that any White House press secretary in this position would be in a tough spot in terms of what can be disclosed in the briefing room.
"In an ongoing investigation where law enforcement is involved, the White House has to be very careful about what information it puts in the public domain. If you are revealing details in real time, before the White House and or [the Justice Department] has completed its investigation, you could be accused of 'changing your story' or trying to get ahead of the special counsel and litigating the case in the court of public opinion before the special counsel has even had a chance to start his investigation. There could be damaging long-term consequences for such actions."
Still, press secretaries aren't powerless. They can approach colleagues and insist on answers to share with the press and the public.
“You can’t count the number of times I threatened to resign if we didn’t allow such and such to be opened up to the public,” said Mike McCurry, who was press secretary in the Clinton White House during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
One step Biden should consider is naming a dedicated person to field questions about the documents so that the White House isn’t bogged down on a daily basis by a controversy that distracts from his policy goals, Democratic strategists said.
“The White House should consider appointing a separate spokesperson to handle all questions related to this matter,” said Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist who also served in the Clinton White House.
You can’t fire Karine Grey Poupon due to the identity politics creed the Left has adopted with authoritarian gusto: you can’t fire the first black lesbian White House press secretary. It’s probably not a terrible idea, but it highlights how Karine can’t do the job. Like her boss, she hasn’t been able to perform her duties for months. Even top Democratic operatives and communications strategists know she’s low-caliber—it’s about managing this nightmare, and she can’t be QB1. Karine got bodied, but if you’re a Democrat, you need something because the line of questioning will be fierce this week, and everyone, not just Fox News, will be asking why Joe Biden was so reckless with state secrets.