Karine Jean-Pierre Makes History in Leading White House Press Briefing

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history on May 26 as the first openly gay woman and the second Black woman to lead a press briefing at the White House.

“It’s a real honor to be standing here today,” Jean-Pierre told reporters in the James S. Brady Briefing Room.

“Clearly the president believes that representation matters, and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity, and it’s another reason why I think we’re all so proud that this is the most diverse administration in history,” Jean-Pierre further said.

Jean-Pierre follows Judy Smith, the deputy press secretary to former President George H.W. Bush who became the first Black woman to lead a White House press briefing in 1991.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described Jean-Pierre as her “partner in truth” who was “doing her first full briefing from the podium today, making history in her own right.”

“But doing her real justice means also recognizing her talent, her brilliance and her wonderful spirit,” Psaki said in a tweet.

Jean-Pierre is seen as a potential candidate to take over Psaki’s role after Psaki announced earlier this month that she plans to step down from her position next year.

During the briefing, Jean-Pierre noted the Senate confirmations of Kristen Clarke as the first Black woman to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as the first Black woman to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She also answered questions on Biden’s recent announcement of ordering a fresh intelligence report on the origins of COVID-19.

Jean-Pierre has conducted five informal briefings known as “gaggles” with the press aboard Air Force One, but they were all off-camera.

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