President Biden on Thursday announced that Karine Jean-Pierre will replace Jen Psaki as White House press secretary — becoming the first black and first openly gay person to hold the position.
Jean-Pierre, 44, grew up in Queens and will replace Psaki on May 13.
Biden said in a statement, “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.”
“Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this administration,” Biden said.
Jean-Pierre is known for taking pains to maintain a pleasant demeanor in answering questions and for avoiding the snarky quips that fans of Psaki have dubbed “Psaki bombs” that ridicule reporters.
But Jean-Pierre also can give lengthy answers that do not directly address inquiries and has frustrated some reporters by beginning press gaggles on Air Force One as the plane prepares to land.
Jean-Pierre was born in the French territory Martinique to Haitian parents. Her partner is CNN journalist Suzanne Malveaux.
Psaki tweeted of Jean-Pierre: “She will be the first black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the White House Press Secretary. Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”
Jean-Pierre is well-liked among reporters but it was unclear if she would be taking over the top spokesperson job.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby and White House communications director Kate Bedingfield also were considered possible contenders for the post.
Biden also released a statement praising Psaki, who is expected to join MSNBC as a political pundit.
“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 [for] her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”