Karine Jean-Pierre is making history as the first Black person to become White House press secretary, CNN reports.
Jean-Pierre’s current position is as the White House’s principal deputy press secretary, one of seven members on President Biden’s all women communication team. She previously served as an adviser to the Biden campaign and former chief of staff to now-Vice President Kamala Harris. Last year, she made history as the first Black woman to hold the daily press briefing in three decades, the first to ever do so being Judy Smith in 1991.
Now Biden has announced that Jean-Pierre will become the new White House press secretary after Jen Psaki steps down on May 13, making her the first Black person to ever hold the title and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in this capacity.
“I just want to take the opportunity to celebrate and congratulate my friend, my colleague, my partner in truth, Karine Jean-Pierre, the next White House press secretary…She will be the first Black woman, the first out LGBTQ+ person to serve in this role, which is amazing because representation matters and she is going to, she will give a voice to so many and allow and show so many what is truly possible when you work hard, and dream big and that matters, and…we should celebrate that,” Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing this week.
Jean-Pierre says she’s aware of the weight of this historic accomplishment, not only for the public, but also for her own family, her partner, CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and the couple’s daughter. She thanked Psaki for her leadership and called the new appointment “an honor and a privilege.”
“I am still processing it because, as Jen said, at the top this is a historic moment and it’s not lost on me. I understand how important it is for so many people out there. So many different communities that I stand on their shoulders…It is an honor and a privilege to be behind this podium…[Jen] has been just a wonderful colleague, a friend, a mentor, during this past year and a half and I don’t think I would be here without so many people, but including her and she is just a true solid, amazing person,” said Jean-Pierre.
Psaki has been very vocal about her plan to step down after a year in her position. While several others were considered for the position, Jean-Pierre had already been working on the team and was prepared for the job.
“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people,” President Biden said via statement.
Jean-Pierre is set to take over officially for Psaki on May 14th.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Brochstein/Zuma Press