President Joe Biden on Thursday named Karine Jean-Pierre as the next White House press secretary, the first black woman and openly LGBTQ person to serve in the role. Incumbent Jen Psaki will leave the post next week.
Jean-Pierre takes on the role as the White House faces an uphill battle to help Democrats hold the House and Senate in the midterm elections this falland how the administration is struggling to address Americans’ concerns about rising inflation and the state of the economy. She’s also stepping into the job as Biden faces a daunting array of foreign policy challenges, including the ongoing one Russian invasion of Ukraine and North Korea’s escalating nuclear testing program. Biden is hired Visit South Korea and Japan later this month and Europe in June.
Biden is also bringing back longtime Democratic strategist Anita Dunn as his senior adviser. She had served in the Biden White House for several months last year after Biden was sworn into office.
“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity required for this difficult task, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating the work of the Biden-Harris administration on behalf of the American people,” Biden said in a statement praising Jean-Pierre, who has served as his chief deputy press secretary since inauguration day.
Psaki, who leaves the White House on May 13, hailed her successor as a “partner in truth” and stressed the importance of the historic appointment.
“Representation is important and it will give so many a voice and show so many what is really possible when you work hard and dream big,” said Psaki.
Briefly taking the lectern while Psaki briefed the press on Thursday, Jean-Pierre said she “still” is processing the importance of her appointment and called it “an honor and a privilege to be behind this podium.”
“This is a historic moment that has not escaped my notice,” she said. “It’s a very emotional day.”
Psaki said Biden offered Jean-Pierre the job Thursday in the Oval Office. White House staffers were gathered after the bid and greeted Jean-Pierre with applause, an official said. Two “warm bottles” of champagne were procured for a toast in paper White House cups, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe the internal gathering.
Jean-Pierre had occasionally taken the podium in the press briefing room in place of Psaki and more often “gagged” off-camera reporters when Biden was flying Air Force One. She had traveled to Europe with Biden last fall and in March in place of Psaki, who had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to both trips.
Before joining the Biden presidential campaign, Jean-Pierre was chief public affairs officer for progressive group MoveOn.org and a former political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. She also worked on political affairs at the Obama White House and on his re-election campaign.
The press secretary is responsible for holding daily briefings with the news media and overseeing a department of more than a dozen employees who assist in answering press inquiries.
When she accepted the job, Psaki, who has two young children, said publicly that she aims to stay in the job for about a year. She is expected to join MSNBC later this year. She was to remain the public face of the administration until she left next Friday.
Biden said Psaki “set the standard for the return of grace, respect and decency to the White House briefing room.”
“I want to thank Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully with the American people, while maintaining her sense of humor,” Biden said. “I thank Jen for her service to the country and wish her well in her future journey.”
Dunn is a partner at Democratic consulting firm SKDK and was a senior adviser on Biden’s 2020 campaign and previously served as chief strategist and communications director to President Barack Obama. The White House said she is returning to “help advance the president’s policy and communications goals.”
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics/karine-jean-pierre-to-be-next-white-house-press-secretary/3229840/ Karine Jean-Pierre Named Next White House Press Secretary – NBC10 Philadelphia