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Karine Jean-Pierre Is the First Openly Gay Woman to Lead White House Press Briefing

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House principal deputy press secretary, just made history in multiple ways.

On Wednesday, May 26, Jean-Pierre became the first openly gay woman to ever lead a White House press briefing. On top of this important milestone, the communications expert is only the second Black woman to perform this particular role behind the podium (the first being George H.W. Bush–era deputy press secretary Judy Smith in 1991).

The principal deputy press secretary previously worked as a senior adviser to now President Joe Biden as well as chief of staff to current Vice President Kamala Harris. Prior, she held a position in the Obama-Biden administration and served as a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. 

“Your presence here today is making history,” one reporter pointed out during the briefing. “You were the first black woman to stand behind that podium, speaking on behalf of the president in 30 years. Just wondering if you could share your reflections?”

Jean-Pierre responded that while “it’s a real honor” and she appreciates “the historic nature” of the moment, her work behind the podium is all about the American people.

“It’s a real honor to be standing to just be standing here today,” she said. “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. Clearly, the president believes in representation matters, and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity.”

Karine Jean-Pierre continued by describing President Joe Biden’s administration as the “most diverse” in history. The Biden-Harris communications team—which is completely made up of women—is just one example of that commitment.

“It’s another reason why I think we’re all so proud that this is the most diverse administration in history,” Jean-Pierre continued. “But again, this is not about me, this is not about any of us, and anytime I’m behind here—I think you’ve heard Jen say this as well—we are going to be truthful and we’re going to be transparent. And that’s the way I believe the president would want us to communicate to the American people. Thank you for the question.”


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