OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had to behave in an unprofessional manner as she announced the departure of Communications Director Kate Bedingfield.
When she made the announcement on Friday during a White House press briefing she took a swipe at former President Donald Trump who had referred to Bedingfield as one of President Joe Biden’s “killers.”
“And finally, there is a bittersweet day for us — a bittersweet moment for the Communications and Press teams and all of us of here at the White House,” she said.
“I’ve gotten to know Kate Bedingfield as a colleague and a friend, being in the trenches together and representing the President’s agenda together.
“I’ve actually known Kate since 2007. That’s a whole ‘nother story. But Kate has been fighting this fight on behalf of the President since long before the campaign was launched, going back to when she was his Communications Director as Vice President,” the press secretary said.
“She’s been a trusted source of strategic advice and an unflinching voice for the President’s message and values, playing an integral role in our successes these first two years and on the campaign.
“She’s also a pillar of this team, which she helped build as the Deputy Campaign Manager across the primary and general elections,” she said before taking a swipe at the former president.
“I understand that after a certain previous occupant of this White House, whose name will be nameless, but — as you know who this person is — he got angry and yelled and said, quote, ‘Biden has a team of killers. All I’ve got — all I’ve got is a defense,’” she said.
“Okay, that was in the campaign. That was — the campaign communications team started calling Kate and the captain — the captain of the Team [of] Killers.
“That doesn’t surprise me at all because if there’s one thing Kate is, is she is a leader.
“We’re very sad to see her go, but no one has earned some time with their children, spouse, and dog more than Kate,” the press secretary said.
“And I look forward to welcoming Ben LaBolt — as you all know, he has been announced to replace Kate as Communications Director — back to the White House.
“Ben has had a top role — communications role on the last three successful Supreme Court nominations by Democratic Presidents,” she said.
“We all got to work with him closely when he was the head of communications for the confirmation of Jus- — of now-Justice Jackson, and we’re glad that he is coming back to be a more permanent part of the team.
“I’ve known Ben for many years, including both Obama-Biden campaigns and the Obama-Biden White House, where he worked on climate change and civil rights.
“I was happy to reconnect with him when he took over communications for nominations during the transition, helping advance the case for the most diverse Cabinet in history, and for a host of groundbreaking sub-Cabinet positions as well,” the press secretary said.
“He brings a cutting-edge understanding of modern communications to the table, and I know he’ll fight hard for the President’s agenda in the upcoming year — months and years.
“I also knew — I also know that Ben is making history — as you know, we believe, here in the Biden-Haris White House, that representation matters. He will be the first openly gay Communications Director, which is very, very important indeed,” she said.
The news of the departure came after news that President Biden’s White House chief of staff was departing his job, CNN reported.
Klain’s exact timeline is still not set, the sources said, and he is expected to stay in the West Wing for a period of time to help with the transition period for his replacement, one of the people said. The State of the Union address is set for February 7.
Klain’s departure would come at a difficult time for Biden, with a special counsel investigating his handling of classified information after his time as vice president and with the administration and the president’s family facing renewed scrutiny by the GOP-controlled US House of Representatives. An official familiar with Klain’s plans said his decision to step down is not related to the investigation underway about classified documents found at Biden’s private office and Delaware residence, with the decision being made before the special counsel was announced.
Biden has not settled on a choice for his next White House chief of staff and is discussing casting an even wider net for potential replacements, another official said. The president is known for being deliberative in making major decisions, particularly one as significant as a chief of staff, this official added.