Making history, Karine Jean-Pierre holds first briefing as press secretary

While conducting her first White House briefing as press secretary on Monday, Karine Jean-Pierre addressed her historic position of being the first African American, first immigrant and first openly LGBTQ person to take on the role.

Video Transcript

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: The last thing I promise, and then we'll go to your questions. But before I do that, I just want to say a few words about how honored I am to be here with all of you today in this role, in this room, standing behind this podium. I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts. I am a Black gay immigrant woman, the first of all three of those to hold this position. I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me.

I stand on their shoulders. If it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me, I would not be here. But I benefit from their sacrifices. I have learned from their excellence. And I am forever grateful to them. Representation does matter. You hear us say this often in this administration. And no one understands this better than President Biden, which is why his administration is not only the most diverse in history, it is filled with barrier-breaking women and men, from the vice president to the cabinet secretaries to his Supreme Court nominee to senior staff throughout this administration.

When I did my first briefing as principal deputy press secretary last year, almost a year ago, I said at this podium that this podium, this room, this building belong to the American people. We work for them. It's not about me. It's about them. It was true then, and it is very true indeed today.

On Jen's first briefing, she made clear that the president's and her priority was to bring truth and transparency back to this briefing room. Jen did a great job at that. And I will work every day to continue to ensure we are meeting the president's high expectation of truth, honesty, and transparency.

I also have tremendous respect for the work that you all do, which I know it's not easy. The press plays a vital role in our democracy, and we need a strong and independent press now more than ever. We might not see eye to eye here in this room all the time, which is OK. That give and take is so incredibly healthy, and it's a part of our democracy. And I look forward to engaging with all of you on that.