White House Press Secretary Under Fire for Troop Comments Amid Jordan Drone Attack

Karine Jean-Pierre
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

In the wake of a devastating drone attack in Jordan that resulted in the loss of three US military members, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced a barrage of criticism for her comments suggesting that the troops were “fighting” for President Joe Biden’s administration. This controversy unfolded as President Biden identified “radical, Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq” as the perpetrators behind the attack.

During an interview with MSNBC, Jean-Pierre extended her condolences to the families of the fallen military personnel, stating that they were “fighting on behalf of this administration.” Her exact words were, “Our deepest, obviously our deepest condolences go out, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the families who lost, uh, three, three brave, uh, three brave, uh, three brave, three folks who are military folks, who are brave, who are always fighting, who are fighting on behalf of, uh, this administration, of the American people, obviously more so, more importantly.”

This statement drew immediate and intense backlash, notably from Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN), who criticized Jean-Pierre’s competence as a press secretary, asserting that the military serves the United States of America, not any individual administration. The controversy quickly spread to social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter), where numerous users expressed their dismay and disapproval of Jean-Pierre’s choice of words and the overall tone of her condolences, as reported by Newsweek.

The Media Research Center, a watchdog group, was among the critics, emphasizing that service members commit to serving their country, not the administrative agendas of specific governments. The conservative media outlet Proud Elephant took particular issue with Jean-Pierre’s use of the word “folks” to describe the military personnel, arguing that it demonstrated a lack of respect and seriousness about the gravity of the situation.

An X user, identified as ZNO, criticized Jean-Pierre’s apparent struggle to appropriately honor the deceased servicemen, suggesting that this reflects a broader disdain for the country and its military by the current administration.

Jeremy Redfern, the press secretary for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, also weighed in on the controversy, condemning the implication that military personnel serve the interests of any particular administration. He described such a notion as emblematic of a problematic attitude prevalent within Washington D.C.’s political class.

The drone strike that led to these tragic losses has heightened existing tensions, particularly in the context of Israel’s ongoing conflict in Gaza, Iran’s recent unexpected assault on Israel, and subsequent attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea by Yemen. These developments have raised concerns about the potential for further escalation in an already tense Middle East, with President Biden facing scrutiny for his handling of these complex international dynamics.

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