Biden Names New White House Press Secretary

Jen Psaki will leave the White House on May 13


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will leave the Biden administration next week.

President Joe Biden announced on May 5 that Psaki, who assumed her role in January 2021, would depart on May 13.

“Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room. 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,” Biden said in a statement. “I thank Jen for her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”

The announcement was not a surprise. Although she has declined to speak about her plans after the White House, reports emerged in early April that Psaki would be imminently leaving the position with the current administration for a position with MSNBC. Some outlets reported earlier this year that Psaki could be considering returning to CNN, where she was a commentator while President Donald Trump was in office.

Psaki tweeted that she is grateful that President Biden, his wife Jill, and “the Biden family” trusted her to serve as press secretary.

The president said Karine Jean-Pierre, the current deputy press secretary, will take over the position. 

“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,” said Biden.

Psaki described Jean-Pierre as “passionate,” “smart,” and “an amazing Mom and human.”

She will be the first black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the White House Press Secretary,” Psaki said on Twitter. “Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”

I can’t wait to see her shine as she brings her own style, brilliance and grace to the podium,” said Psaki.

Jean-Pierre was part of the lauded all-female communications team Biden selected in November of 2020.

The 45-year-old previously worked as a political analyst for MSNBC and as the southeast regional political director during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

She then served as a senior advisor to Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign, advising on engagement and communication strategies with women and African American communities.

Jean-Pierre also served as Vice President Kamala Harris’s chief of staff during the 2020 campaign. She was the first black person to hold the position.

In her 2019 book titled Moving Forward, Jean-Pierre wrote about her childhood sexual abuse and suicide attempt as well as her commitment to the Democratic Party. She noted that she thought Trump was “unfit to be president.”

“I’ve known Joe Biden for 10 years now,” Jean-Pierre said in an interview in March 2020. “I believe he’s a man of integrity, he’s a man who knows how to lead, he’s a man who knows how to use the levers of government to help people and he’s the man who could beat Donald Trump in November. For me, as a Black woman, I just could not sit this out.”

Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique, a French territory in the Caribbean. She is of Haitian descent and was raised in New York.

“As a Black gay immigrant who comes from a working-class family, I know that America hasn’t always worked for everyone,” Jean-Pierre told Out Magazine in November of 2020. “And I know that America still doesn’t work for everyone. The truth of the matter is we have a long way to go. But that’s what I’m working toward: mobilizing people around this shared vision of what an America that works for everyone could look like — and then making it happen.”

Suzanne Malveaux, Jean-Pierre’s wife, is a Harvard University graduate who has co-anchored CNN’s Around the World, served as a White House correspondent and substituted for Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. She is currently a national correspondent for CNN.

The couple has one daughter, Soleil.

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