By Brandon Patterson
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre will make history this May 13 when she assumes the role of White House press secretary, becoming the first Black and first openly LGBTQ person to hold the position.
President Biden announced last week that he was appointing Jean-Pierre to the role as current press secretary, Jen Psaki, departs to assume a media role at MSNBC. Jean-Pierre currently serves as principal deputy 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,” 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.”
“I am still processing it because, as Jen said…this is a historic moment and it’s not lost on me,” Jean-Pierre said during the White House press conference last week when the announcement was made. “I understand how important it is for so many people out there. So many different communities that I stand on their shoulders.”
She continued: “It is an honor and a privilege to be behind this podium.”
Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique to Haitian parents and migrated to the United States with her family as a child, according to NBC News. She grew up in Queens, New York.
She got her start in politics as an activist, and later as a political commentator for MSNBC. She was chief public affairs officer at MoveOn.org — a website that allows people to circulate petitions for progressive causes online — and worked on the Reproductive Freedom Initiative campaign at the ACLU.
Pierre later served on the presidential campaigns for former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley. She was also senior adviser for the Biden campaign and chief of staff for Kamala Harris’ 2020 campaign run.
Jean-Pierre made history last summer when she became only the second Black woman to deliver a White House press briefing — and the first in 30 years. Judy Smith, who served as a White House spokesperson for President George H.W. Bush, beginning in 1991, was the first Black woman to deliver a briefing, according to People Magazine. She was also the inspiration for the character Olivia Pope in the TV show “Scandal,” the magazine reports.
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