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The Biden White House on Tuesday announced new press team departures in the latest shake-up within an increasingly unpopular administration.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who herself has been widely criticized for less-than-stellar performances at the podium, said that White House rapid response director Mike Gwin and White House press assistant Michael Kikukawa are leaving to take public affairs positions at the Treasury Department, Fox News reported.
“On a sad note, our dear friend and colleague Michael Gwin will be leaving us for Treasury, where he will serve as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs,” Jean-Pierre said.
“Gwin has served as the White House director of rapid response for the past 16 months, responding to the most challenging and difficult issues imaginable. Yet amid these often emotionally wrenching stories, Gwin’s poise and moral clarity are unfailing, and his willingness and ability to step up has made him an indispensable member of the team,” she added.
“And joining Gwin at the Treasury Department will be our very own Michael Kikukawa, where he will serve as a spokesperson,” she continued.
“Michael, better known here to all of you, to all of us, as Kiku, has served not just as a press assistant, but as the strong engine and reliable engine at the press shop. His relentless work ethic and dedication to the mission of this team have been second to none,” said the press secretary.
Fox News added:
The White House press team is undergoing a staff shakeup ahead of the midterm elections – its most notable resignation coming from former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who left her role last month for a commentator gig at MSNBC.
The White House also announced last week that assistant press secretary Vedant Patel was leaving to serve as principal deputy spokesperson at the State Department, and the press office’s chief of staff Amanda Finney was leaving for a senior communications post at the Energy Department.
The administration has framed the departures as routine, but they come amid multiple news media reports of inner turmoil at the White House as Biden’s approval numbers sink to all-time lows ahead of the midterms.
Several media outlets nailed the administration with damning reports earlier this week, all claiming that the inner sanctum of the Biden White house is tumultuous.
NBC News began early Tuesday morning with a report headlined, “Inside a Biden White House adrift,” reporting, “Amid a rolling series of calamities and sinking approval ratings, the president’s feeling lately is that he just can’t catch a break — and that angst is rippling through his party.”
“Faced with a worsening political predicament, President Joe Biden is pressing aides for a more compelling message and a sharper strategy while bristling at how they’ve tried to stifle the plain-speaking persona that has long been one of his most potent assets,” NBC News continued.
“Biden is rattled by his sinking approval ratings and is looking to regain voters’ confidence that he can provide the sure-handed leadership he promised during the campaign, people close to the president say,” the report added.
The outlet reported that a series of issues have “piled up” to make “the Biden White House look flat-footed,” including soaring inflation, high gas prices, a COVID spike, to the mass shootings that have taken place in recent weeks.
“Democratic leaders are at a loss about how he can revive his prospects by November” as Republicans are expected to ride a red wave in the midterm elections, the report continued.
NBC News went on to report that shakeups in White House and administration staff were expected, including the possible departure of Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain.
A source close to the White House told NBC News, “He’s now lower than Trump, and he’s really twisted about it.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening, the Washington Post dropped a report with the headling, “White House scrambles on inflation after Biden complains to aides,” which claimed thatthe president “fumes privately that administration isn’t doing enough to show concern on high prices.”
“The White House launched a new push Tuesday to contain the political damage caused by inflation after President Biden complained for weeks to aides that his administration was not doing enough to publicly explain the fastest price increases in roughly four decades,” the Post noted.
CNN followed suit with a story headlined, “Beneath Biden’s struggle to break through is a deeper dysfunction among White House aides.”