Karen-Jean-Pierre appointed as the first press secretary for the Black White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden said on Thursday he has chosen Karen Jean-Pierre as the White House press secretary to succeed Jean Psaki and become the first openly gay black person to serve as the public face of the U.S. administration. .

Psaki, who left the job on May 13 early in the Biden administration, which began in January of 2021, said she plans to stay on for about a year.

Jean-Pierre has served as deputy press secretary since the start of Biden’s term. She worked on his 2020 presidential campaign, in the White House under President Barack Obama, and was the chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org, a progressive advocacy group.

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Biden has pledged to nominate senior officials, cabinet members and judges who reflect America’s diversity, where whites make up less than 60% of the population but traditionally hold most senior government positions.

“Karen not only brings the experience, talent, and integrity needed to this challenging task, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the Biden-Harris administration’s work on behalf of the American people,” he said in a statement.

The press secretary is the highest public facing job in the White House.

“This is a historic moment, and I’m not lost in my mind,” Jean-Pierre said in a brief appearance in the White House press room. “It is an honor and a privilege to be behind this podium.”

Dee de Meyers became the first woman to hold this position in the 1990s under former President Bill Clinton.

Psaki was named by Biden after troubled relations with the media under former Republican President Donald Trump.

“Jeanne Psaki set a standard for returning decency, respect, and decency to the White House briefing room,” Biden said, thanking her for “raising the bar, direct communication and honesty with the American people, and maintaining a sense of humor while doing so.”

Psaki is known for her confident, irrational, and quick delivery from the White House podium. Jean-Pierre, who was Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ chief of staff in 2020, tends to stick closely to talking points during her press appearances as Psaki’s deputy.

Psaki said Biden offered Jean-Pierre the job during a meeting in the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon.

“She comes to this job with decades of experience, even though it seems very young,” Psaki said, adding that her appointment will give “a voice to many and allow and show what is truly possible when you work hard and dream big.”

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(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Nandita Boss) Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Doina Chiako; Editing by Alistair Bell and Stephen Coates

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