Jen Psaki will ascend to the role of White House Communications Director, replacing Jennifer Palmieri, who will join Hillary Clinton’s seemingly impending presidential campaign.
Psaki’s deputy, Marie Harf, will not be changing jobs any time soon, according to the Daily Mail.
Earlier this week, Harf appeared on MSNBC, where she argued for developing the Middle Eastern economy and stimulating job growth instead of fighting Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, with military action.
“We cannot kill our way out of this war,” she said. "We need, in the longer term – medium and longer term – to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups."
Harf added: “There is no easy solution in the long term to preventing and combatting violent extremism, but if we can help countries work at the root causes of this – what makes these 17-year-old kids pick up an AK-47 instead of trying to start a business?
“Maybe we can try to chip away at this problem, while at the same time going after the threat, taking on ISIL in Iraq, in Syria, and helping our partners around the world.”
Harf did not back down from her remarks, despite the conservative backlash, and said it was important that the Obama administration tackle the root causes of terrorism and unrest, which have historically included an income and education gap, a lack of upward mobility and poverty. “'It might be too nuanced an argument for some,” she told her critics.
“(Harf's comments) are going to keep her from the top job,” an unnamed State Department official said.
“Jen's move to the White House isn't something that happened overnight,” the official said, “and Marie's TV appearances were an audition of sorts, a test run, and she failed spectacularly.”
Psaki slammed the anonymous source and told the Daily Mail that “anyone who is commenting anonymously on personnel decisions is not a decision maker."
“Marie Harf is a smart, savvy, integral member of the State Department team who has run point on issues ranging from the Iran negotiations to efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL,” Psaki said.
Psaki has been part of Obama’s team since 2007 and will have the same status as White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest when she takes her new role.