White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday became the second Black woman in history to hold the daily press briefing Wednesday, saying that while she appreciates the “historic nature” of the moment she also acknowledges that the White House is not about “one person.”
“It’s a real honor to be standing here today,” Pierre said of being the first Black woman in 30 years to brief reporters from the James S. Brady briefing room.
“I appreciate the historic nature. I really do,” Jean-Pierre added. “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.”
Judy Smith, who was a deputy press secretary under President George H.W. Bush, was the first Black female White House spokeswoman to hold a daily press briefing in the briefing room in 1991.
Jean-Pierre was among the all-female White House senior communications team that the Biden administration announced in November. The seven women, several of whom are women of colour, occupy some of the most visible roles in the administration.
Pierre also thanked President Joe Biden for giving her the opportunity, saying that “clearly the President believes representation matters.”
“This is not about me. This is not about any of us,” Jean-Pierre added. “And anytime I’m behind here, and I think you’ve heard Jen (Psaki) say this as well — we are going to be truthful. We are going to be transparent as well.”
Jean-Pierre, a former senior adviser to Biden’s campaign who later served as chief of staff to Kamala Harris, was previously under consideration to become White House press secretary, a role that went to Psaki.
Prior to that, Jean-Pierre worked for former President Barack Obama’s and Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaigns and served as a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. She came to the press team with connections in activism following her role as chief public affairs officer at MoveOn.org and on the campaign for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative.