Principal Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President Karine Jean-Pierre will be the next White House press secretary, the White House announced on Thursday.
Jean-Pierre, 44, will take over as press secretary from Jen Psaki, who will leave the administration on May 13 to take an on-air position with MSNBC.
“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,” President Joe Biden said in a statement announcing the promotion.
Biden also thanked Psaki for her service in the announcement.
“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect, and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,” the president said. “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 for her service to the country and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”
Jean-Pierre was born in French Martinique and has worked in the Biden administration since the president took office. She also worked on his campaign as the spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris during the general election. Jean-Pierre also worked in several senior political and communication roles during the Obama administration.
Psaki tweeted out congratulations to Jean-Pierre and highlighted the trailblazing facet of her hire.
“She will be the first black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the White House Press Secretary,” wrote Psaki. “Representation matters, and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”
“She is passionate, she is smart, and she has a moral core that makes her not just a great colleague, but an amazing mom and human,” added Psaki.
The current press secretary also began Thursday’s press briefing by paying tribute to her successor.
In introducing Jean-Pierre, Psaki called her “my friend, my colleague, my partner in truth.”
Jean-Pierre did not say much but acknowledged it was a “historic moment.”
“It’s a real honor just to be standing here today. I appreciate the historic nature; I really do. But I believe being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building, is not about one person. It’s about what we do on behalf of the American people,” she said.
“It is a very emotional day,” Jean-Pierre continued. “And I hope that I make people proud.”