White House Historic First after Former Press Secretary Leaves Position

PC: Evan Vucci/AP

 By Tiara Weedagama and Darling Gonzalez 

WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden’s historic pick for the replacement of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will be Karine Jean-Pierre, according to NBC News.

Jean-Pierre will be the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to hold this position.

Born in Haiti, Jean-Pierre immigrated to the U.S. as a child. She has served as deputy press secretary for Psaki and chief of staff for vice presidential Kamala Harris during the 2002 campaign. She has worked on both of former President Barack Obama’s campaigns.

“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,” the President said in a 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,” President Biden expressed.

Formally announcing Jean-Pierre as her replacement, Psaki fought back tears as she acknowledges that as a Black woman and member of the LGBTQ+ community, Jean-Pierre “will give a voice to so many.”

“I’m just so grateful to have had Karine by my side for this over the last 15 months, and I just can’t wait to see her shine at the podium,” Psaki said, “Congratulations, and I can’t wait to see you bring your own style and brilliance to this job. I love you.”

It has been reported that after one year and three months, Psaki is leaving the role to take an on-air position at MSNBC. Psaki’s last day will be May 13.

When Psaki was asked about the ethics of pursuing a media job after being a government spokesperson, she confirmed that she has always given a strong importance to the ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration.

Furthermore, Psaki continued to add that the White House policy ensures that employees abide by all ethical and legal requirements that are necessary for the transition.

According to Brian Schwartz’s and Kevin Breuninger’s article for CNBC, not everyone appeared convinced by Psaki’s reassurance.

Earlier, Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration, tweeted, “I’m old enough to remember how grossed out we all were by the White House-to-Fox pipeline in the last administration.”

Schwartz and Breuninger also explain that the press secretary role tends to have a high turnover rate commonly as a result of their direct exposure to criticism by the administration’s critics.

Nonetheless, Jean-Pierre’s message to young people who aspire to follow in her footsteps is to “follow your passion, follow what you believe in and just, you know, keep that focus, because that matters. I think if you are passionate about what you want to be, where you want to go and you work very hard, it will happen.”

About The Author

Darling is an incoming junior at UCLA, majoring in English and Political Science with an interest in law. She is originally from Bell Gardens, California.

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