Lesbian White House official Karine Jean-Pierre becomes first Black woman to host press briefing in 30 years
Lesbian White House official Karine Jean-Pierre has become the first Black woman to host a press briefing in 30 years.
Jean-Pierre, deputy press secretary to Jen Psaki in the Biden administration, also became the first queer Black woman to ever host a White House press briefing in the history-making moment.
Karine Jean-Pierre, who previously served as chief of staff to Kamala Harris during the presidential race, delivered a 16-minute long briefing on the Air Force One on 31 March.
During the briefing, Jean-Pierre addressed assembled reporters about Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan and fielded questions on infrastructure, the Derek Chauvin trial, and taxation plans.
Jean-Pierre delivered another briefing on 19 March, according to Yahoo! News White House correspondent Hunter Walker.
White House official Karine Jean-Pierre makes ‘history’ with press briefing
Walker tweeted a photo of Jean-Pierre giving her 31 March press briefing, noting that she had become “the first Black woman to hold a White House press briefing in about 30 years”. He said he took the photo because he had the sense that he was “witnessing history”.
.@KJP46 has become the first Black woman to hold a White House press briefing in about 30 years.
Here's a picture of her gaggle on Air Force One yesterday.
I took it because I had the sense I was witnessing history. pic.twitter.com/3iJCaQqnYJ
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) April 1, 2021
Judy Smith became the first Black woman to deliver a White House press briefing in 1991 when she served as a special assistant in George H.W. Bush’s administration.
“I didn’t think about it at the time… what I thought about at the time was that going to work in the White House was… just such an incredible opportunity,” Smith told Yahoo! News in December 2020.
“It was a dream come true. I didn’t understand the significance of what that was, getting up briefing at that moment, seeing a Black woman behind the podium, speaking on behalf of the president to the American public.”
Joe Biden named Karine Jean-Pierre as his deputy White House press secretary in November 2020, making her the first out lesbian and first Black woman to hold the key media-facing role.
Jean-Pierre is one of four women of colour filling out the seven top communications posts in the White House. The communications team is also all-female.
Speaking after her historic appointment, Jean-Pierre said she was “profoundly honoured” to serve in Biden’s administration.
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“I’m so proud that our communications team for the Biden-Harris administration is a roster filled [with] rockstar women,” she wrote on Twitter at the time.
“All will bring dignity, professionalism and expertise to their respective roles!”
Prior to her work on the Biden-Harris campaign, Jean-Pierre worked on presidential campaigns for John Edwards, Martin O’Malley and Barack Obama. Born in Martinique to Haitian immigrants, Jean-Pierre grew up in New York City.
“As a Black gay immigrant who comes from a working-class family, I know that America hasn’t always worked for everyone, and I know that America still doesn’t work for everyone,” she told Out magazine.
“The truth of the matter is we have a long way to go. But that’s what I’m working toward: mobilising people around this shared vision of what an America that works for everyone could look like – and then making it happen.”