(NPR) President Biden has named Karine Jean-Pierre as his second White House press secretary, replacing Jen Psaki later this month. Jean-Pierre, who has been Psaki’s deputy since the start of the administration, will make history several times over.
She will be the first Black press secretary in White House history and the first openly gay person in this high-profile role, speaking for both the president and the U.S. government in press briefings that are watched by the world.
“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 announcing the news. “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 said at Thursday’s press briefing, where she appeared with Psaki, embracing and holding 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.
Psaki referred to her successor as “my partner in truth.” She added, “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 came to the Biden team from the progressive organization MoveOn.org, where she was a top communications staffer. She was also a regular on MSNBC. Jean-Pierre has already led several White House press briefings, including when Psaki was out with COVID.
“It’s a real honor just to be standing here today,” Jean-Pierre said in May 2021 during her first turn behind the famous lectern. “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.”