New White House press secretary announcement - is there a conflict of interest here?

New White House press secretary announcement - is there a conflict of interest here?
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced her replacement and her departure date of May 13. The new press secretary will be Karine Jean-Pierre, the current White House principal deputy press secretary. Jean-Pierre checks several boxes in the Democrats’ game of identity politics. However, there is one question that hasn’t been answered – is it a conflict of interest that her partner is a CNN anchor and reporter?

Karine Jean-Pierre is good for those in the Biden administration who favor identity politics as a priority when making personnel decisions, including Joe Biden. She’s a black female member of the LGBTQ community. Her partner is CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux. They have an adopted daughter together. For most jobs in the White House, that relationship wouldn’t be any big deal. But we were promised a return to normal if Sleepy Joe became president and this isn’t normal. It may not be an official ethics violation but it sure looks like a conflict of interest.

Jen Psaki is leaving the White House to go to work for MSNBC. She came under fire for pursuing a job with a news network while still press secretary. At the least, it is unseemly for the press secretary to be calling on and working with reporters from the network which will soon be her own employer. It’s swampy behavior, the very behavior that turns off Americans to the working of the White House. Yet the press coverage of this announcement has been nothing but favorable to the choice of Jean-Pierre. Go figure, right? She’s one of them.

Psaki posted a glowing series of tweets about how awesome Jean-Pierre is, as you’d expect. Biden released a statement, too.

“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this administration.

“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,” the president continued. “I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”

Like Psaki, Jean-Pierre is a veteran of the Obama administration. Her resume includes working on political campaigns, including Biden’s. She’s an activist, a former political contributor on cable news shows, and experienced in “political communication” as the NYT described her work history. It remains to be seen how fair and balanced she is in doing the job.

Psaki is being praised for her performance in her role as press secretary. Her pals in the press point to the return of civility and decorum in the press briefing room. It’s pretty easy to calm the room down, though, if there aren’t reporters screaming at the press secretary as happened in the previous administration. Psaki was treated with kid gloves and she was given slobbering cover stories in magazines and online publications. She thrilled the press with her “Psaki bombs” which was her way of answering with snark and her trademark smirk any questions asked by a reporter from a conservative-leaning news outlet. Her back and forth exchanges with FNC’s Peter Doocey are well documented.

The White House made the announcement of Psaki’s replacement as well as the announcement that Anita Dunn is returning to take over the communications shop at the White House. Dunn, too, is a questionable hire as she has floated back and forth between the White House as an adviser to Biden and her regular job as a partner SKDK, a lobbying firm. The White House has been loosey-goosey with how she is classified as an employee at the White House and that has raised eyebrows.

I’m sure it will be a smooth transition for Jean-Pierre. She’s been brought out to do press briefings more frequently after the news got out that Psaki would be leaving soon. She filled in during Psaki’s absences when she tested positive for COVID. So, she’ll be a somewhat familiar face.

The only return to normal with the Biden administration is the return of the Swamp in full force. The absence of normal in the previous administration can be largely pinned on the opposition by Democrats and their minions in the press who were determined to overturn the election of Trump, whether through impeachment or phony narratives conjured up from Team Hillary. Russia, Russia, Russia was a big lie. Democrats were on record pursuing impeachment strategies before Trump was inaugurated. The members of his administration were harassed in public and protested at their homes. I don’t think Jean-Pierre will have to deal with threats so serious as to require Secret Service protection, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders did, the first White House press secretary to receive Secret Service protection.

We’ll see how accountable the White House press corps holds the administration as we move closer to November and the midterm elections. Will CNN get special scoops to report? It’s a legitimate question.

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