GAFFE ALERT: Karine Jean-Pierre Calls Biden 'President Obama'

Former president Barack Obama / Getty Images
February 24, 2023

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred to President Joe Biden as "President Obama" during a Thursday press briefing, marking the latest gaffe for the struggling press secretary.

"Just an hour or so ago, President Obama announced that—pardon me, President Biden," Jean-Pierre said while discussing Biden's nomination of Ajay Banga for president of the World Bank.

"We're going back, not forward. We got to go forward," Jean-Pierre said while trying to laugh off the error.

It's the latest gaffe from Jean-Pierre, who has been increasingly sidelined during briefings in favor of John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications for the National Security Council. The White House tapped Kirby for the role just a week into Jean-Pierre's time as press secretary, a move some saw as undermining the former Kamala Harris chief of staff.

Insiders at the White House "feel that the timing of Kirby's hiring demonstrates that White House leadership believes that the first African-American White House press secretary needs 'adult supervision,'" a source told Politico.

Members of the press are growing frustrated with Jean-Pierre, who frequently refuses to answer questions about pressing issues, including Biden's classified documents scandal. When a reporter earlier this month asked the press secretary "how the White House can claim that they are being transparent" after officials waited months to disclose that FBI agents searched the Penn Biden Center in November, Jean-Pierre responded, "I'm just not going to comment."

In recent weeks, the spokeswoman also blamed Republicans for higher gas prices, which have skyrocketed during Biden's two years in office.

Jean-Pierre's gaffe is not the first time members of the administration have said someone other than Biden is president. Biden himself has called his vice president "President Harris" on multiple occasions.

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