Karine Jean-Pierre will be the White House’s next press secretary, President Joe Biden announced Thursday, making her the first Black woman and first openly LGBTQ person to hold the position.
The Martinique native and current principal deputy press secretary, whose long career in Democratic communications led her to the podium last year as the second Black woman to hold a White House daily briefing, will now regularly host those news conferences.
She will take the reins from outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki, who will officially leave the post on May 13 after weeks of speculation about her departure.
“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, adding that Psaki set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room.
The historic nature of Jean-Pierre’s appointment wasn’t lost on the president and others.
“Karine is a lifelong public servant and fierce LGBTQ advocate,” said Annise Parker, former Houston mayor and current president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “We are proud to have advocated for her historic nomination. As White House press secretary, she will not only be able to use her podium to represent the Biden administration but also the LGBTQ community during a time of unprecedented anti-LGBTQ hate and attacks.
“As the first out LGBTQ person and the first Black person to hold this office, her appointment will inspire countless young people looking for hope and motivation during a dark chapter in our nation’s history,” Parker continued. “Shattering this lavender ceiling is a testament to Karine’s grit, power, and commitment to our country’s potential. We are confident she will continue to be a strong ally and partner as she works in the highest office of the land.”
Psaki described Jean-Pierre as passionate.
“She is smart, and she has a moral core that makes her not just a great colleague but an amazing mom and human. Plus, she has a great sense of humor,” Psaki tweeted.
National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. said Jean-Pierre’s selection demonstrates that the Biden-Harris administration has held up its promise of a diverse staff.
“The NNPA, representing the Black Press of America, resolutely congratulates Karine Jean-Pierre, elevated as senior assistant to the president and White House press secretary,” Chavis said. “This is another historic step forward by the Biden-Harris administration in fulfilling their promise of equity and equality in the White House.”
In a 2021 appearance on “The Chavis Chronicles,” the Chavis-hosted PBS-TV show, Jean-Pierre said representation matters.
“We’ve seen that from the first day of this administration, the president signed an executive order to deal with racial inequity and making sure that we saw diversity and inclusion across the board in the federal government,” Jean-Pierre said during her appearance on the show. “We’re living in a polarized country right now, and the one thing that president talked about when he was running, he wanted to make sure that he was the president for all.”