Jean-Pierre, the current principal deputy press secretary, will become the first openly gay person and first Black woman to hold the role of White House press secretary. The White House said that Jean-Pierre would assume the position on May 13.
“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 Biden 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.”
“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,” he 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.”
Psaki, who has held the role of press secretary since the start of the Biden administration, is expected to leave for a role at MSNBC.
Psaki described Jean-Pierre as a “remarkable woman” and noted her experience in New York City politics and government as well as her work as an adviser to Biden when he served as vice president during the Obama administration. Psaki also noted the historic nature of Jean-Pierre’s ascension to the role.
“Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible,” Psaki tweeted.
Thursday’s announcement ends months of speculation about who would replace Psaki when she decides to depart the administration. Jean-Pierre has always been viewed as the leading contender for the role, but other names have been floated as possibilities, including White House communications director Kate Bedingfield.
Psaki had initially planned to leave her role after about a year. Reports emerged last month that she was in discussions for a role at MSNBC. Psaki has not confirmed those discussions and Thursday’s announcement said nothing about her future plans.
Jean-Pierre has a lengthy resume of political and government jobs, including serving on Biden’s campaign and before that as chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org. She has worked in the White House under President Obama and on Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
Having served as Psaki’s deputy for more than a year, Jean-Pierre has gaggled and briefed reporters from the podium several times.
Jean-Pierre made history about a year ago when she delivered her first briefing, becoming the first openly LGBTQ person to brief from the podium.