Karine Jean-Pierre will succeed Jen Psaki as President Biden’s second White House press secretary later this month. Psaki’s deputy since the beginning of the government, Jean-Pierre, will create history many times.
She will be the first Black press secretary in White House history, as well as the first openly gay person in this high-profile position, speaking for both the president and the United States government at international press briefings.
“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,” Biden said in a statement. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.”
“This is a historic moment, and it’s not lost on me,” Jean-Pierre remarked at a news conference with Psaki on Thursday, where they embraced and held hands at times.
“I understand how important it is for so many people out there, so many different communities, that I stand on their shoulders and I have been throughout my career,” she added.
“My partner in truth,” Psaki said of her successor. She continued, “One of the first conversations we had when we both found out we were getting these jobs was about how we wanted to build a drama-free, on your best days, workplace where everybody worked hard. Where we, on our best days, were rebuilding trust with the public.”
Jean-Pierre joined the Biden campaign after working as a key communications staffer with the progressive organisation MoveOn.org. She was a frequent on MSNBC as well. Several White House press briefings have already been led by Jean-Pierre, notably when Psaki was out with COVID.
During her first turn behind the famed podium in May 2021, Jean-Pierre said, “It’s a real honour just to be standing here today.” “I appreciate the historic nature, I really do. But I believe being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building, is not about one person. It’s about what we do on behalf of the American people.”
Jean-Pierre has had a few hard briefings, finding himself in the hot seat on days when the White House had no good answers for the news. She unintentionally implied the US preferred admitting Ukraine to NATO during a briefing on Air Force One, but swiftly walked it back after landing. She is well-liked by reporters and will give consistency in the White House press corps, which is expected to undergo major change in the coming weeks.
When Psaki quits, she is widely likely to join MSNBC. Her final day is set for May 13th.
“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,” said Biden in the statement. “I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so.”
In addition to Jean-promotion, Pierre’s the White House announced that Anita Dunn, a long-time Biden aide, will return as a senior adviser and assistant to the president. She took a break from the administration last summer to work for the consulting firm SKDK, but only for a short time.
Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique and raised in New York, where he attended Columbia University. She has worked for Democratic political campaigns and left-wing organisations throughout her career.