The White House made history Wednesday when Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy press secretary for the White House, briefed reporters on behalf of the president.
Jean-Pierre is the first Black woman in decades and the first openly gay spokesperson in history to stand behind the podium in that capacity.
“It’s a real honor to be standing here today,” Jean-Pierre said.
“I appreciate the historic nature. I really do,” she said. “But I believe that… 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.”
“Clearly, the president believes in representation matters. And I appreciate him giving me this opportunity,” she said. “And it’s another reason why I think we’re all so proud that this is the most diverse administration in history.”
“This is not about me. This is not about any of us,” Jean-Pierre said. “And anytime I’m behind here, and I think you’ve heard Jen (Psaki) say this as well — we are going to be truthful. We are going to be transparent as well.”
Judy Smith, press secretary under George H.W. Bush, was the first Black woman to hold daily press briefings.
Khanya Brann, special assistant to the communications director, tweeted a photo of Jean-Pierre and Smith together at the White House on Wednesday.
Before working in Democratic administrations, Jean-Pierre was a national spokesperson for the liberal group MoveOn.org. She was regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs under former President Barack Obama. She served in the Biden presidential campaign as senior adviser and as chief of staff to Kamala Harris after she was tapped to be Biden’s running mate.
She is one of several women of color holding senior positions in the all-female White House communications team, including Symone Sanders and Pili Tobar.
.@KJP46 on being first Black woman to do WH Press Briefing in 30yrs: "I appreciate the historic nature…I believe that being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building it's not about one person. It's about what we do on behalf of the American people." pic.twitter.com/pNHls4rUct
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 26, 2021