US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday May 5 that he had chosen Karine Jean-Pierre to replace Jen Psaki as White House spokesperson.
This is the first time that this highly exposed position has been awarded to a black woman as well as to an openly lesbian person. Mme Jean-Pierre will replace Mme PSAKI, whose deputy she was until now, from May 13, according to a press release in which Mr. Biden said he was ” proud “ of this appointment. The president also praises “experience, talent and honesty” of its future spokesperson.
Mme PSAKI, who had made it known from the start that she would step down during her term of office, brought in Mme Jean-Pierre with her, Thursday, during the traditional briefing of journalists accredited to the White House. She praised, in a voice sometimes choked with emotion, the qualities of her assistant, whom she hugged several times.
“She will be the first black and openly LGBTQ+ woman” in this position, she said. “She will give a voice to many people and she will allow many to have big dreams”, she added. According to US media, the outgoing spokeswoman would join the progressively oriented MSNBC channel.
Also moved, the future press secretary said : “It’s a historic moment and I realize that. I understand how important this is to so many people. » Before her, only one other black woman, Judy Smith, had served as deputy White House spokeswoman under President George H.W. Bush in 1991.
“I am everything Donald Trump hates”
If she has already taken her place several times, as number two, in front of the famous blue background of the White House press room, Mme Jean-Pierre, 44, is the first black woman to access the main function. Born in Martinique to Haitian parents who then immigrated to the United States, this French-speaking woman, who shares the life of a CNN journalist with whom she has a daughter, has worked on Barack Obama’s two campaigns (2008 and 2012) then that of Mr. Biden in 2020 before joining his team in Washington.
“I am everything Donald Trump hates”, she explained in 2018 in a video for the organization MoveOn, of which she was once one of the main figures. A graduate of the prestigious Columbia University before getting involved in the associative and political world, Ms.me Jean-Pierre has often explained how his family’s journey, emblematic of the American dream, had been decisive for his career. She grew up in New York, where her father worked as a taxi driver and her mother as a home caregiver.
The new spokeswoman for the White House is also campaigning to break down prejudices in mental health. She recounted having been the victim of sexual assault as a child and having suffered from depression, until she attempted suicide.
Thursday, when asked about the message she wanted to deliver to young American girls – “and the boys”she wanted to complete – she said: “If you work very hard for a goal, it will happen. Yes, you will suffer hard knocks, you will go through difficult times and it will not always be easy, but the reward will be incredible, especially if you stay true to who you are. »