White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history becoming the first Black woman in three decades to lead a White House press briefing.
Jean-Pierre took the podium in the James S. Brady Briefing Room Wednesday becoming the first Black woman since Judy Smith, who became the first Black woman to lead a press briefing under George H.W. Bush in 1991.
She’s also the first openly gay woman in the role.
The former Columbia University professor commented on the historic moment during the last question she took from reporters.
“It’s a real honor to be standing here today. I appreciate the historic nature, I really do. 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,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “Clearly the president believes that representation matters, and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity, and it’s another reason why I think we’re all so proud that this is the most diverse administration in history.”
Jean-Pierre began the briefing noting the Senate confirmations of Kristen Clarke, the first Black woman to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, who was confirmed as the first Black woman to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
President Joe Biden and his staff have touted themselves as the most diverse cabinet in presidential history as it includes Black, Hispanic, Indian and Native Americans. Additionally multiple members of Biden’s administration represent the LGBTQ community.
Jean-Pierre joined Biden’s campaign in May 2020. She also previously worked as the Southeast regional political director for former President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, engaging residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina.
Smith’s role as the first Black White House press secretary is the inspiration for Olivia Pope’s character in Scandal.