Apparently, working for a Nobel Prize winner doesn’t mean you actually know how to pronounce the proper noun “Nobel.”
At Monday’s White House media briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters about President Joe Biden’s hectic schedule for the day. Earlier, he’d signed the Presidential Memorandum on Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, which is meant to strengthen “the U.S. government’s effort to combat rape as a weapon of war.”
Then, he “met with three U.S. winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize: Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Dr. John Clauser, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics; and Dr. Douglas Diamond, who won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.”
“The president is restarting an important tradition that just like — just like he does for winning sports teams, as you have seen him do in the past 20 months or so, the president meets with U.S. winners of the Nobel Prize.”
“Their achievements show how taking on the biggest questions can establish new fields of inquiry, promote technology, innovation, and expand the boundaries of what is possible,” she continued. “Their work is a reminder of why the president often says that the — America can be defined by one word, and you all know that word that he uses is ‘possibilities.’”
Meanwhile, the one word Karine Jean-Pierre was using was “noble.” As in, not “Nobel“:
Jean-Pierre calls the Nobel Prize the “Noble Prize” four times. pic.twitter.com/Zw0TRNxqiz
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 28, 2022
Just so we’re clear, here’s how you’re supposed to say it:
Like president, like press secretary, apparently. Here’s the relevant section of Monday’s news briefing, just so you can make out she messed up the pronunciation numerous times without actually sticking the landing once:
Keep in mind, too, that Jean-Pierre used to work for the campaign and administration of a Nobel prize winner: Barack Obama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for winning an election.
As her bio page at Columbia University noted, she “served as the Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, she worked on the Obama for America campaign in 2008 as the Southeast Regional Political Director.”
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I mean, in fairness, Obama’s Nobel Prize was finally the point where the world realized just how debased and insane the process of selecting the peace-prize winner really was.
The awardees Biden met with on Monday had to actually do something to earn the honor, so maybe Jean-Pierre figured it was different.
Or maybe it’s just that Jean-Pierre was proving the press secretary apple doesn’t fall far from the presidential tree, considering her boss’ very public problems with public speaking:
Is everything okay?
We carried Presdient Biden’s Ukraine remarks live on @FaulknerFocus today. #kleptocracy pic.twitter.com/aINZImChEy
— HARRISFAULKNER (@HARRISFAULKNER) April 29, 2022
Biden: *silence* … “I’m having trouble reading this”
Painful to watch.pic.twitter.com/NaCmT9XmlF
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) November 14, 2022
BIDEN: “Help turbocharge the emer—the ener, the, the—excuse me—turbocharge the emerging global clean ener—clean energy economy.”
“I was reading their quote. Sorry.” pic.twitter.com/3XFbJN9BqU
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 11, 2022
BIDEN: “9.5 million turkeys! I tell ya what, that’s like some of the countries I’ve been to and they — anyway… *looks at turkey* you wanna talk?” pic.twitter.com/GgsRkr23nZ
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 21, 2022
What he said. All of it.
Is this really the best the Biden administration can field? Yes, we know the president is a gaffe machine — but we’re supposed to pretend he’s not, and when we can’t pretend that, we’re supposed to pretend his gaffes are the result of a childhood stutter. Nothing to see there. Shh.
At least we all know the president’s mistakes are attributable to the ravages of age, even if there’s a tacit cultural injunction against saying it. What’s Jean-Pierre’s excuse? She’s not the 80-year-old, after all, and every reasonably educated American youth over the age of 10 knows the correct pronunciation of “Nobel.”
Not the White House press secretary, though. It’s enough to make you want to circle back to the days of Jen Psaki.
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