Karine Jean-Pierre to Replace Psaki as White House Press Secretary

May 5, 2022 by Dan McCue
Karine Jean-Pierre to Replace Psaki as White House Press Secretary
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre takes a question from a reporter during the press briefing at the White House in Washington, July 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON — Karine Jean-Pierre has been promoted to assistant to the president and White House press secretary, replacing Jen Psaki, who will depart from the White House on May 13, President Joe Biden announced Thursday afternoon.

Jean-Pierre will become the first openly gay person and first Black woman to hold the role. 

In announcing the change, the president said, “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,” he added.

Before joining the Biden presidential campaign, Jean-Pierre was the chief public affairs officer of the progressive group MoveOn.org and a former political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. She also worked in political affairs in the Obama White House and on his reelection campaign.

She has served as Biden’s principal deputy press secretary since Inauguration Day.

Psaki, who has two young children, had said publicly after the president’s inauguration that she intended to remain in the job only for about a year, though the timeline was somewhat flexible.

Since last month it has been rumored that she will shortly join MSNBC in a host and commentator role.

Of Psaki, Biden said, “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,” he continued, adding, “I thank Jen for her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”

For her part, Psaki praised her successor, noting the significance of the history-making appointment.

“She will be the first Black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the White House press secretary,” Psaki said. “Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”

The White House on Thursday also announced the return of Anita Dunn as a senior advisor and assistant to the president.

Dunn is a partner at the Democratic consulting firm SKDK, and was a senior adviser on Biden’s 2020 campaign and previously chief strategist and communications director for President Barack Obama. 

According to the White House, she is returning to “assist in advancing the president’s policy and communications objectives.”

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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