Karine Jean-Pierre to become first Black and openly LGBTQ+ White House press secretary

The trailblazer was previously Kamala Harris’s chief of staff in 2020, and worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Karine Jean-Pierre speaking at a White House press briefing.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Karine Jean-Pierre is set to make history by becoming both the first Black and openly LGBTQ+ White House Press Secretary in the US. She will be taking over the role from Jen Psaki, who will step down from the position on Friday, May 13.

Currently working as the Principal Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President, Jean-Pierre recorded her name in the history books in similar circumstances on May 26, 2021, when she filled in for Psaki to become the first openly lesbian person to lead a White House briefing. She is also just the second Black woman to have ever undertaken the task.

Psaki described her successor as a “passionate” and “smart person” with a “moral core that makes her not just a great colleague, but an amazing mom and human.” Jean-Pierre is in a domestic partnership with journalist Suzanne Malveaux, and the pair have a child together.

She added that, “Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”

President Joe Biden added to the compliments, saying: “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 the administration.”

The soon-to-be White House press secretary expressed that she is “still processing” the appointment and said that the “historic moment” is “not lost” on her. Born to Haitian parents, the achievement is monumental not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but also for the Black community.

“I understand how important it is for so many people out there,” she continued. “So many different communities that I stand on their shoulders.”

The 44 year-old boasts an impressive CV. She was Kamala Harris’s chief of staff during her 2020 vice-presidential run, and worked on Barack Obama’s successful 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Jean-Pierre is also a political analyst, and advisor and spokesperson for MoveOn.org – an organisation that mobilises together to achieve “a world marked by equality, sustainability, justice and love”.

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