President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that White House press secretary Jen Psaki would depart the White House on May 13 after a year and a half on the job. ABC News reports that her current deputy, Karine Jean-Pierre, will take her place, making her the first Black and openly gay person to serve as White House press secretary.
Biden stated, “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.”
The president also thanked Psaki, saying, “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. I thank Jen for her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”
Psaki invited her successor up to the platform at the opening of Thursday’s briefing and told reporters she may cry, as she introduced Jean-Pierre, whom she called her friend and “partner in truth.” Paski stated, “She will give a voice to so many,” adding that her appointment will “show so many what is truly possible when you work hard and dream big.”
"It’s a real honor to be standing here today. I appreciate the historic nature," White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tells @marykbruce about making history as the first Black woman in decades to brief the White House press. https://t.co/18xx9e5LQT pic.twitter.com/VvA7bT5VSZ
— ABC News (@ABC) May 27, 2021
Additionally, Psaki discussed Jean-Pierre’s history, outlining how she got her start in New York City politics before working on multiple campaigns, in the Obama–Biden administration, and as a longstanding adviser to Biden and the first lady. Jean-Pierre said, “It’s a real honor to be standing here today. I appreciate the historic nature, I really do, 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.”
In April, Axios reported Paski would likely join MSNBC. However, she has not commented on her plans, but if she joins the network, she will follow in the footsteps of former Biden-Harris administration assistant Symone Sanders, who departed last year to launch a show on MSNBC.