After Judy Smith became the first Black woman to brief the White House press corps in 1991, Karine Jean-Pierre makes history as the second Black woman to do so. While the moment comes as much-needed good news, Jean-Pierre would have people think that it is just another day, as she sought to downplay the historic nature of Wednesday’s press briefing (May 26), saying the Biden administration has embarked on a broad effort to ensure representation.
“I appreciate the historic nature,” Jean-Pierre said when prompted by a reporter. “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.”
For those unaware, Jean-Pierre is the principal deputy press secretary within the Biden administration and also the first openly gay spokeswoman to field questions in the briefing room. “The president believes representation matters,” Jean-Pierre said. “This is not about me, this is not about any of us.”
This isn’t the first time that Jean-Pierre has been with the White House press corp, as she has done off-camera briefings aboard Air Force One on numerous occasions and can be seen frequently in the briefing room whenever White House press secretary Jen Psaki stands at the podium.
The hype about Karine Jean-Pierre’s appearance isn’t just tied to the history-making person she is, but also as a possible candidate to take over Jen Psaki’s seat when she eventually steps down. Psaki said on a recent podcast episode with David Axelrod that someone else will likely succeed her at some point next year, making the intrigue over the not-yet-open position highly anticipated.
Prior to this role, Jean-Pierre was an organizer and activist, plus former lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University. She also served as senior advisor and national spokeswoman for MoveOn.org and as the chief of staff for Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign with Joe Biden.