Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy press secretary for the White House, made history Wednesday as the first Black woman to host the White House’s daily press briefing in 30 years.
Jean-Pierre is only the second Black woman to host the press briefing, with the first being Judy Smith, a deputy press secretary under former President George H.W. Bush in 1991.
“It’s a real honor to be standing here today,” said Jean-Pierre. “Clearly the president believes that representation matters and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity.”
“I appreciate the historic nature, I really do,” she added. “But I believe that … being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building is not about one person. It’s about what we do on behalf of the American people.”
In the past, Jean-Pierre has held five “gaggles’ – informal press briefings – aboard Air Force One for reporters traveling with the president. Jean-Pierre is often found at the side of presidential spokesperson Jen Psaki, who recently said that she intends to leave the role after a year.
Psaki said that passing the podium to more diverse voices and preparing those in her office to take on bigger roles once she leaves is important to her, according to NBC News. Wednesday’s press briefing has widely been interpreted as an audition to see if Jean-Pierre is fit to take on Psaki’s job.
“Today is a big day in the press office and @WhiteHouse,” Psaki tweeted Wednesday morning.
“Mt partner in truth–@KJP46 is doing her first full briefing from the podium today making history in her own right. But doing her real justice also means recognizing her talent, her brilliance and her wonderful spirit.”
Jean-Pierre is a former senior adviser to the Biden campaign who later served as chief of staff to Kamala Harris.