The powers of John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the US National Security Council, will be expanded in the White House: he will become an assistant to the president and will also get a new position, Reuters reports, citing an unnamed US official.
“Kirby will get a new position: White House adviser for national security communications, and he will be promoted from deputy assistant to assistant to the president,” the official told the agency.
According to the agency, Kirby will be responsible for coordinating national security communications across agencies. His appearances in the briefing room will continue, the source added.
“Under the new structure, he (Kirby) will hire a small staff tasked with helping him synchronise the administration’s national security messages in addition to his day-to-day press work,” the official told the agency.
Earlier, the online publication Axios, citing sources, said that in the White House tensions are growing between the two main representatives of the presidential administration responsible for interaction with journalists: press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby. According to White House interlocutors who wished to remain anonymous, publicly Jean-Pierre and Kirby continue to share the podium on a regular basis. The press secretary focuses more on domestic policy, while the strategic communications coordinator focuses more on international issues.
Part of the contradiction stems from the amount of time both spend daily talking to the press. Although Kirby, who has become a favourite of US President Joe Biden, has not publicly declared his ambitions to become White House press secretary, he has already indicated such a desire in communication with his colleagues. Jean-Pierre, in turn, intends to retain her post after the possible re-election of Biden for a new term.
Meanwhile, the tension between the two representatives of the presidential administration began in the spring of 2022 after the departure from the post of White House press secretary Jen Psaki, in place of which Jean-Pierre was appointed. Biden made it clear from the beginning that she would have to work in a team with Kirby, which allegedly caused disappointment to Jean-Pierre.