Karine Jean-Pierre will be taking over the role of White House Press Secretary when Jen Psaki leaves the position on May 13. On Thursday (May 5), the White House announced the news, making Karine the first Black woman to hold one of the most high-profile jobs in U.S. politics. In her current position as White House principal deputy press secretary, Karine occasionally filled in for Psaki at the briefing room lectern, as well as taking questions from reporters aboard Air Force One. It appears Karine is ready to take on the huge responsibility, so let’s find out more about the 44-year-old trailblazer, below.
1. Where does Karine hail from?
Born in Fort-de-France, Martinique, a French island, on August 13, 1977, Karine was raised in Queens, New York. She would go on to graduate from the New York Institute of Technology before receiving her MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
2. She calls Jen Psaki a ‘friend.’
Karine will formally begin her new job when Psaki officially steps down on May 13. On Twitter, Psaki described Karine as a “remarkable woman.” She added, “Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible. I can’t wait to see her shine as she brings her own style, brilliance and grace to the podium.”
At the press conference announcing the news, Karine thanked Psaki for being a solid supporter. “She has been just a wonderful colleague, a friend, a mentor, during this past year and a half and I don’t think I would be here without so many people, but including her and she is just a true solid, amazing person.”
3. Karine’s got President Joe Biden’s stamp of approval.
President Joe Biden had nothing but a glowing review for Karine when he announced she would be taking over the Press Secretary role. “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,” Biden said in a statement, adding that “Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room.”
4. Karine is breaking ground as first Black and out LGBTQ+ person in White House role.
Before she becomes the first Black to take the role of White House Press Secretary, Karine already made history as the second Black woman to hold the daily press briefing back in May. She also becomes the first open LGBTQ+ person to step into the position. Karine lives in Washington D.C. with her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and their daughter.
“This is a historic moment and it’s not lost on me,” Karine said at the press conference announcing her new role. “I understand how important it is for so many people out there. So many different communities that I stand on their shoulders. It is an honor and a privilege to be behind this podium.”
5. She once said Donald Trump ‘hates everything I am.’
During an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife, Karine explained that she jumped at the chance to join Biden’s 2020 campaign team to fight for the issues left to the wayside by Donald Trump’s administration, such as racism and environmental concerns. “I felt like this is my job as a mom to step in. I thought about my six year-old and I thought about what kind of planet or world or country are we going to be leaving to her and her peers,” she explained, before pointing out, “I’m a Black woman, I’m a gay woman and I’m an immigrant. And Donald Trump, he is someone who hates everything I am.” To check out the full interview, click here.