Karine Jean-Pierre is getting a promotion.
The now-former Principal Deputy Press Secretary for Joe Biden’s administration has officially been named as the successor to outgoing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, the president announced on Thursday.
Once Psaki leaves her post in the next few weeks, Jean-Pierre will take over and become the first Black person to serve as White House Press Secretary, yet another historic first for Black people working with and for this president who has made it a point to surround himself with people who “look like America.”
Biden had glowing words for Jean-Pierre as he made the announcement.
“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 emailed to NewsOne. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.”
Jean-Pierre, 44, called her job promotion “a true honor” and gave a nod to her predecessor.
“I have big shoes to fill,” Jean-Pierre said of Psaki, who she called “a great friend, mentor and excellent press secretary.”
Jean-Pierre previously expressed sentiments of joy and pride nearly one year ago when she became the second-ever Black woman to lead a White House press briefing.
“It’s a real honor just to be standing here today,” the Martinique-born New Yorker said when asked about the gravity of presiding over a White House press briefing. “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.”
At the time, Jean-Pierre followed in the footsteps of Judy Smith, a Black woman who served as deputy press secretary in President George H. W. Bush’s administration. Smith made history in 1991 as the first Black person to take the podium at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
While announcing Jean-Pierre’s promotion, Biden said he was grateful for Psaki’s service.
“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,” Biden 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 her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”
Jean-Pierre’s promotion also makes her the first openly gay White House press secretary.
Prior to her work in the White House, Jean-Pierre worked as a senior adviser on Biden’s presidential campaign. Before that, she was the chief public affairs officer for MoveOn, a political nonprofit organization.
Jean-Pierre also worked in the Obama White House as regional political director before serving as deputy battleground states director for his 2012 reelection. During that time, Jean-Pierre led political engagement in key states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.