“I’m everything Donald Trump hates”said Karine Jean-Pierre in 2018. Appointed spokesperson for the White House on Thursday, she will become the first black and openly lesbian woman to occupy this position as prestigious as it is frighteningly exposed.
She will replace Jen Psaki, whose deputy she was until now, from May 13, according to a statement from the White House in which Democratic President Joe Biden praises “experience, talent and honesty” of his future “Press Secretary”.
The outgoing spokeswoman, bringing Karine Jean-Pierre to her on Thursday during the traditional briefing for journalists accredited to the White House, praised, in a voice sometimes strangled by emotion, the qualities of her deputy, that she hugged repeatedly.
Karine Jean-Pierre “will be the first black woman, the first openly LGBTQ+ person to hold this position, which is great, because representativeness is important and because she will give a voice to so many people, and show so many people what is possible when you work hard and dream big”said Jen Psaki.
Also moved, the future “Press Secretary” she said: “It’s a historic moment and I realize that. I understand how important it is for so many people”.
Jen Psaki had made it known from the start that she would step down during the term of office, but did not comment on the recurring press reports of a departure for MSNBC, a progressive television channel.
Karine Jean-Pierre, who shares the life of a CNN journalist, with whom she has a daughter, has already taken her place several times, as number two, in front of the famous blue background of the “James S. Brady Press Briefing Room”.
But in the future, it is no longer as a stand-in that she will lend herself to the highly perilous exercise of the daily White House press conference, broadcast live and analyzed ad infinitum.
Before her, only one other black woman, Judy Smith, had served as deputy White House spokeswoman under President George HW Bush in 1991.
Born in Martinique to Haitian parents who then emigrated to the United States, the forties worked on the two campaigns of Barack Obama (2008 and 2012) then that of Joe Biden in 2020 before joining his team at the White House.
Karine Jean-Pierre has often explained how much the career of her family, 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. It was in this city that she graduated from the prestigious Columbia University before taking her first steps in politics and then becoming a figure in the associative world.
The new White House spokesperson is also campaigning to break down prejudices in terms of mental health: she recounted having been the victim of sexual assault as a child, and having suffered from depression, until attempting suicide .
On Thursday, when asked about the message she wanted to deliver to young American girls – and boys, she insisted on completing – she said: “If you work really hard for a goal, it will happen. Yes, you will take hard knocks, you will go through tough times and it won’t always be easy but the reward will be amazing, especially if you stay true to who you are. “
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