Karine Jean-Pierre says Biden forgot she was on vacation and called her asking where she was

Ms Jean-Pierre said it was ‘okay for him not to know’

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 12 September 2023 20:07 BST
Karine Jean-Pierre says Joe Biden called looking for her and forgot she was on vacation

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre provided some insight into the executive branch machine around Joe Biden, revealing that she is rarely alone, and when she is, her boss might come calling anyway.

The press secretary spoke with Vogue’s The Run Through podcast, which was paired with a recent interview she did in the magazine.

While discussing her life working in the White House, she recalled an incident in which she had taken a vacation and received a phone call from a bewildered Joe Biden asking after her.

Vogue editor Chioma Nnadi asked Ms Jean-Pierre if she ever had the chance to turn off her phone and escape work.

"Do you remember the last time that you were just like, put your phone in the other room?” Ms Nnadi asked.

“No, never done that. And so this is really interesting because I say to people all the time, I’m never by myself. It is rare that I am by myself,” Ms Jean-Pierre replied.

She said that while her chances to get away are rare, she did take a vacation last week to visit with her family.

“It was actually really lovely. Slept in a little bit. And there was one of the days where the president called me and he was looking for me. So he called. He called me on my phone and I was not looking at my work phone. And all sudden I got a call in my personal phone and my assistant was like, ‘Hey, the president is looking for you.’ And I was like, Oh, I guess he wouldn’t know that, you know, who’s on vacation,” she told Vogue.

Ms Jean-Pierre said she had to put her working hat back on and assist, so she called the president back.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a briefing at the White House
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a briefing at the White House ((Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images))

Though most workers would bristle at their bosses calling them during their vacation, Ms Jean-Pierre gave Mr Biden a pass.

“It’s okay for him not to know. And so it was really funny because he called, I picked up on my personal phone and of course, I had to be on it, right. Because I can’t say to him, ‘Sir, I’m on vacation, you know, I know nothing.’ I had to be like, ‘Yes, sir,’ you know, and answer whatever question that he had,” she said.

Ms Jean-Pierre said that Mr Biden's job did not allow him to ever truly unplug from work, which means she can never truly unplug from her work.

“You’re never really off and you’re never really on vacation in these jobs. They are high-profile, big jobs. You’re working for the president of the United States," she said. "He can never really turn it off. So, therefore, you can’t really ever turn it off."

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