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Karine Jean-Pierre to replace Jen Psaki, becoming first Black and openly gay White House press secretary

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Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki will step down from her role next week.

  • Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden's deputy press secretary, will replace Psaki.

  • Psaki had previously signaled plans to leave the White House after serving since January 2021.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki will step down from her position on May 13, the White House announced on Thursday.

Karine Jean-Pierre, who is currently President Joe Biden's principal deputy press secretary, has been promoted to press secretary and will replace Psaki next week. She will be the first-ever Black White House press secretary and first openly gay person in the public-facing role.

"Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room. I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so," Biden said in a statement. "I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward."

Psaki marked the occasion in a series of tweets on Thursday, extending her gratitude to the president and the first lady, and celebrating Jean-Pierre.

"She is passionate. She is smart and she has a moral core that makes her not just a great colleague, but an amazing Mom and human," Psaki said of her successor. "Plus, she has a great sense of humor."

"I can't wait to see her shine as she brings her own style, brilliance and grace to the podium," Psaki added.

Karine Jean-Pierre, Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (R) speaks flanked by current Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on May 5, 2022.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Jean-Pierre, a longtime advisor to Biden, worked as his communications and political aide while he was vice president and on the 2020 campaign before being elevated to the No. 2 spokesperson under his presidency.

"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. Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration," Biden said in a statement.

Psaki also honored Jean-Pierre at the start of Thursday's press briefing.

"I just want to take the opportunity to celebrate and congratulate my friend, my colleague, my partner in truth," Psaki said of Jean-Pierre, holding back tears. The two stood at the podium together and shared a hug before Psaki continued her daily briefing.

"I promise not to cry again, so that's it," Psaki said with a laugh. "We already cried."

Psaki's departure is not a surprise. She previously signaled that she intended to have the top post for around a year before leaving to spend more time with her two young children. She's held the position since Biden took office in January 2021.

"I don't want to miss moments," Psaki, 43, said in a CNN interview last May, when she revealed her plans to eventually step down. "It's a great job. It will be hard, but I also never thought I'd be here, and I also love my kids a lot."

Over the past year, Psaki has become a closely watched and highly praised figure among Biden supporters who often commend her for her composure and handling of press briefings after a tumultuous four years under Trump. Clips of Psaki going toe-to-toe with reporters have frequently gone viral on Twitter, along with the hashtag #PsakiBomb. Former Fox News host Chris Wallace once called Psaki "one of the best press secretaries ever."

Psaki, a seasoned communications official who served in multiple high-level communications roles in the Obama administration, has not yet announced her next gig. Multiple news outlets have reported that she plans to join MSNBC as a pundit.

This report has been updated with comment from Psaki's press briefing.

Read the original article on Business Insider