White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history today in her debut press conference. Jean-Pierre is the first-ever openly gay spokeswoman to address the press from the White House podium. She is also the first Black woman in three decades to speak on behalf of the President in the James S. Brady briefing room.
Only one other Black woman has taken the podium on behalf of the President for a daily briefing. Judy Smith, deputy press secretary under George H.W. Bush, landed her spot in history as the first in 1991.
An expert in public affairs
Jean-Pierre took a moment to extend thanks to President Joe Biden at the beginning of the briefing; stating, “clearly the President believes representation matters.” Jean-Pierre was among the all-woman senior communications team for the White House announced early this year.
Jean-Pierre has been a leading public affairs voice in the non-profit and political worlds for years, formerly serving in the Obama Administration as the Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs. Often featured as a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, Jean-Pierre has established herself as a subject matter expert of public affairs and political engagement.
Prior to joining the Biden-Harris administration, Jean-Pierre served as senior advisor to the Biden campaign, chief public affairs officer at MoveOn.org, former lecturer at Colombia University School of International and Public Affairs, chief of staff for then Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and a range of senior roles on the both the Obama and Martin O’Malley presidential campaigns.
A daughter of Haitian immigrants
The trailblazing Haitian-American is also the acclaimed author of Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America. In Moving Forward, Jean-Pierre shares her journey of evolving political involvement and advice for future and current politicos. She also shares her experience as the daughter of Haitian immigrants living on the East Coast.
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and civil rights activist Stacey Abrams recommended the book, saying Jean-Pierre’s “advice resonates across differences with a single, necessary command: Move Forward. With Karine’s book as our guide, we absolutely can.”