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Biden names first Black press secretary of White House

May 6, 2022

Karine Jean-Pierre will be the first Black and the first openly gay person to take up the role of White House press secretary.

Karine Jean-Pierre smiles during a press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House
US President Joe Biden named Karine Jean-Pierre as the next White House press secretaryImage: Saul Loeb/AFP

US President Joe Biden on Thursday chose Karine Jean-Pierre as the next White House Press Secretary — the first Black and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the public face of a United States administration.

Jean-Pierre will take over from Jen Psaki, who is set to leave the post on May 13.

The 44-year-old had been serving as deputy press secretary since Biden took office.

Jean-Pierre also worked on Biden's 2020 presidential campaign, and in President Barack Obama's White House.

"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 statement.

Psaki, who had said from the outset that she would step down during Biden's term, praised her successor, calling Jean-Pierre a "partner in truth.''

Jean-Pierre "will be the first Black woman, the first out LGBTQ+ person to serve in this role," said Psaki.

"Representation matters and she is going to give a voice to so many and show so many what is truly possible when you work hard and dream big," Psaki said.

Jean-Pierre, who was offered the job at an Oval Office meeting earlier on Thursday, said she was "still processing'' the significance of being chosen for the role.

"This is a historic moment, and it's not lost on me," she said. "It's a very emotional day.''

On being asked what message she had for the youth of the country, Jean-Pierre said: "If you are passionate about what you want to be, where you want to go, and you work very hard to that goal it will happen."

"You'll be knocked down and you'll have some tough times and it won't be easy all the time but the rewards are pretty amazing, especially if you stay true to yourself," she added.

Before Jean-Pierre, only one other Black woman, Judy Smith, had been deputy White House press secretary, in  George H W Bush's administration in 1991.

dvv/aw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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