Friday’s announcement that Josh Earnest would replace Jay Carney as White House press secretary is more of the same from the Obama administration’s boys’-club environment, according to a CNN panel over the weekend.
On Sunday, Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev explained that the timing of Carney’s resignation assures that President Obama “will not get the same amount of coverage for not replacing Jay with a woman.” “It will be a continuation of the status quo,” she said.
“Another white man,” host Jake Tapper followed up, referencing Carney’s predecessor, Robert Gibbs. “President Obama likes his bros — he likes his bros.”
While Earnest was seen as one of the leading potential replacements because of his role as principal deputy press secretary, many political observers thought Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the State Department and the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaign, would get the nod.
It’s not the first time the Obama administration has taken flak for failing to include more women. In the 2011 book, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President, Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, recounted to Ron Suskind how she was ignored while in the White House and “felt like a piece of meat.”
Additionally, former Obama White House communications director Anita Dunn described the environment as “a genuinely hostile workplace to woman”; she later walked back those comments.
Shortly after his 2012 election, the president also came under fire for a White House photo showing him meeting with his top advisers, all ten of whom were men. (It was later revealed that Valerie Jarrett was in the picture, but only her leg was visible.)
Two women have served as White House press secretary: Dee Dee Myers, who served under Bill Clinton, and Dana Perino, who served under George W. Bush.