White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will take over as White House press secretary following the departure of Jen Psaki on May 13.
Jean-Pierre, who became the first out lesbian Black woman to deliver a White House press briefing, will again make history in a much bigger way. She will be the first Black person and first out LGBTQ woman to serve as press secretary.
“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 Joe Biden said in a written 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.”
Jean-Pierre, who was born in Martinique, came of age in Queens, New York and graduated from New York Institute of Technology. She went on to earn an MPA from Columbia University. Jean-Pierre also kickstarted her politics career in New York, where she worked under Councilmember James Gennaro during his previous stint as a city lawmaker.
By 2008, Jean-Pierre rose to become then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s southeast regional political director, which paved the way for her subsequent role serving in a similar post within the Obama administration’s Office of Political Affairs.
“Thank you @POTUS and FLOTUS for this opportunity,” Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter on May 5. “It is a true honor. I look forward to serving this administration and the American people. I have big shoes to fill. [Psaki] has been a great friend, mentor and excellent press secretary.”
In a series of tweets acknowledging her own departure, Psaki praised Jean-Pierre and noted the historic nature of her promotion.
“Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible,” Psaki wrote. “[Jean-Pierre] has decades of experience from her early years working in government and politics in NYC, to her years as an outspoken advocate, to serving as a long-time advisor to @POTUS back when he was the VP.”
News reports have indicated that Psaki will be starting a new position with MSNBC upon her departure from the White House. Psaki will leave her position on May 13.