Psaki to cede White House lectern to her history-making deputy, Karine Jean-Pierre

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will be succeeded by deputy Karine Jean-Pierre, who will be the first Black woman in the position.


Karine Jean-Pierre has been selected to be the next White House press secretary, becoming the first Black and openly LGBTQ person to serve in that role.

Jean-Pierre, 44, will take over the briefing room lectern from Jen Psaki, who will step down May 13, the White House said. Psaki has served as President Biden’s press secretary since he took office in January 2021.

“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,” Biden said in a statement announcing the promotion.


The White House also said that Anita Dunn, a trusted Biden confidant who left the administration in the summer, will be returning as a senior advisor.

Among others who had been considered for the press secretary role were Kate Bedingfield and John Kirby.

Bedingfield, the White House communications director and a longtime Biden aide, filled in for Psaki after she tested positive for the coronavirus in late March. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, is the most experienced spokesperson within the administration and would have brought an expertise on defense matters to the briefing room at a moment when reporters are focused on the war in Ukraine.

Jean-Pierre’s promotion has the potential of reminding Black voters, many disappointed in the president’s inability to make progress on ensuring voting rights protections or police reform, that Biden is following through on his promise to make the executive branch more inclusive and representative of a diverse nation.

In citing the trailblazing nature of Jean-Pierre’s appointment as the “first Black woman and first openly LGBTQ+ person” to hold the job, Psaki tweeted that “representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”

“She is smart and she has a moral core that makes her not just a great colleague, but an amazing Mom and human,” tweeted Psaki, who also began Thursday’s briefing by paying tribute to her successor.

Asked by a reporter to take the podium and reflect on her appointment, Jean-Pierre acknowledged it as a “historic moment.”

“I understand how important it is for so many people out there,” she said as Psaki, whom she also thanked, stood over her shoulder.

“It is a very emotional day,” Jean-Pierre continued. “And I hope that I make people proud.”

Jean-Pierre, who was born in French Martinique and has been in the administration since Biden took office, will ascend to the White House’s most public-facing role less than a month after the president — alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, a trailblazer in her own right — celebrated the confirmation to the Supreme Court of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Jackson, who will take her seat after the current Supreme Court term ends in coming weeks, will become the nation’s first Black female justice.

Psaki, a veteran of the Obama administration whose occasional “Psaki bombs” to reporters were celebrated by progressives on Twitter, leaves behind significant shoes to fill as she departs for a position as a host at MSNBC.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is leaving her post to host her own show on MSNBC and the Peacock streaming service.

Determined to usher in a new era of old-fashioned White House-press corps relations after four years of acrimony and melodrama during President Trump’s term, Psaki made a point of holding briefings every day and responding to reporters’ questions with a nearly unbreakable message discipline, respectful tone and an evasiveness often cloaked in affability.

Biden said Psaki has “set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House briefing room.” His chief of staff, Ron Klain, wrote on Twitter that “no one has ever done the job as well as Jen Psaki,” adding that Jean-Pierre “will do great.”

Psaki’s decision to stay on over the last month after news reports surfaced about her move to the cable network prompted credibility questions centering on the ethics of continuing to respond to questions from journalists, some of whom were set to become her colleagues, on behalf of the president.

While Psaki did not work on Biden’s 2020 president campaign, she was quickly initiated into the small inner circle of advisors whom he deeply trusts and who are around the president nearly every day.

Similarly, Jean-Pierre, who was part of the campaign as a spokesperson for Harris during the general election, does not have a long history with Biden.

But, administration officials said, he had the final say in picking her as Psaki’s replacement.