Karine Jean-Pierre will be the next White House press secretary, the Biden administration has announced, as Jen Psaki is stepping down from the post next week.
In a statement on Thursday, US President Joe Biden said Jean-Pierre would step into the press secretary role when Psaki leaves the White House on May 13. She will also act as his assistant.
“I am proud to announce that Karine Jean-Pierre will serve as the next White House Press Secretary,” Biden said.
“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.”
Jean-Pierre is currently the White House’s deputy press secretary and deputy assistant to Biden.
She previously held senior communication and political roles in Biden’s presidential campaign team and when he served as vice-president during the Obama administration, the White House statement said.
Jean-Pierre also was the chief public affairs officer of the progressive group MoveOn.org and a former political analyst for NBC and MSNBC.
Psaki praised her successor, noting the significance of the history-making appointment.
“She will be the first Black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the White House Press Secretary,” Psaki said. “Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”
Jean-Pierre said Thursday was a “very emotional day”, when asked about becoming the first Black woman to serve as White House press secretary. “This is a historic moment, and it’s not lost on me,” she said during a briefing.
“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. And so, it is an honour and a privilege to be behind this podium in about a week or so when Jen is ready.”
When she took the press secretary role, Psaki said publicly that she aimed to remain in the job for about a year.
In Thursday’s statement, Biden thanked Psaki for her contribution to his administration, saying she “set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room”.
“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. I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”