On May 13, Jen Psaki left her position as White House press secretary and was replaced by Karine Jean-Pierre. For almost two years, Psaki worked with Biden to restore a pre-Trump sense of communication and transparency, holding 224 briefings as White House press secretary, going far beyond the Trump-era total of 205. As Poynter’s journalist Tom Jones wrote, “Psaki has restored honor, dignity, and class” to a White House where previous secretaries were “more interested in picking fights and criticizing the media than effectively communicating that administration’s policies and agenda.”
Psaki was regarded by many as one of the best briefers to hold the high-pressure position, yet stated that her replacement Jean-Pierre would bring her “own style, brilliance, and grace to the podium.” Jean Pierre will make history as the first Black woman and openly LGBTQ woman to hold the position.
Many have commented on the timing of Jean-Pierre takeover of the press secretary role, as it coincides with Biden’s shift in his language toward the GOP movement and more overtly political outlook as the midterms approach. Jean-Pierre, who has already been the subject of conservative criticism, will be front and center.
Jean-Pierre has been described as a natural fit behind the White House podium, having filled in for Psaki on multiple occasions. “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,” said President Biden on Thursday. Psaki was also satisfied with Jean-Pierre taking over the podium as she posted on Twitter, “Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dreams big about what is truly possible.”
By Michelle Fang