On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki opened up the day’s press conference by discussing the news that Karine Jean-Pierre will be taking over the role on May 13.
"So, before I get to the briefing, I just want to start by — I'm gonna cry. Okay. I want to talk about my friend Karine," said Psaki as she walked into Thursday’s press briefing.
Earlier that afternoon, Biden announced that current Deputy Press Secretary Jean-Pierre would be stepping in to the role of Press Secretary after May 13.
"So I just want to take the opportunity to celebrate and congratulate my friend, my colleague, my partner in truth, Karine Jean-Pierre, the next White House Press Secretary," said Psaki, with Jean-Pierre briefly joining her at the podium.
"Now many people in this room have known her for some time. But for anyone who does not know her, I want to provide a little bit of a primer for you so settle in," said Psaki.
"First, as you all know, she will be the first black woman, the first out LGBTQ+ person to serve in this role, which is amazing because representation matters, and she is going to — she will give a voice to so many and allow and show so many what is truly possible when you work hard and dream big and that matters and we should not — we should celebrate that," she said.
"But I also want to make clear what all of her qualifications are. What a remarkable person is," Psaki added, noting that Jean-Pierre got her start in "New York City politics."
"She comes to this job with decades of experience, even though she looks very young," Psaki said, joking that the two of them look like "we’re both in our 20s."
Psaki said that Jean-Pierre has "served in communications and political roles and many campaigns," referencing her time with both Obama campaigns, and that she’s been a "longtime advisor to President Biden and Dr. Biden."
"And I just want to say, I will have a lot to say about how grateful I am for being — for the trust the President and the First Lady and the whole team have given me and entrusted me in the last 15 months but this day’s about Karine and — I want to celebrate her," said Psaki.
"And on a personal note," she added. "I want to say that one of the first conversations we had when we both found out we were getting these jobs was about how we wanted to build a drama-free, on your best days, workplace where everybody worked hard. Where we on our best days, we're rebuilding trust with the public and I am just so grateful to have had Karine by my side for this over the last 15 months and I just can't wait to see her shine at the podium. So congratulations, and I can't wait to see you bring your own style and brilliance to this job."
Speaking later in the press conference, Jean-Pierre thanked Psaki for being "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."
"This is a historic moment and it's not lost on me. I understand how important it is for so many people out there, so many different communities, that I stand on their shoulders, and I have been throughout my career. And so it is an honor and a privilege to be behind this podium in about a week or so when Jen is ready," she said.
"And that that is something that I will honor and do my best to represent this President and the First Lady the best that I can but also the American people. And so it is, you know, it's a very emotional day. That's probably the best way that I can explain that, very emotional day. And I just appreciate this time in this moment. And I hope that I make people proud," she added.
When asked what her message is to young children cross the country regarding her new position, Jean-Pierre said: You know, I used to I used to teach college students. I had the pleasure of doing that for about six, seven years. And they would ask me, you know, this a similar question, like, how did you get to where you got to, and I would say to them, and it took me a little bit of time to figure this part out that I'm about to share with you which is follow your passion. Follow what you believe in and, and just, you know, keep that keep that focus, because that matters.
"I think if you are passionate about what you want to be where you want to go and you work very hard to that goal. It will happen. And yes, you'll be knocked down and you'll have some tough times and it won't be easy all the time. But the rewards are pretty amazing, especially if you stay true to yourself. And so that's what I would tell them and I see them from time to time and they always mentioned those words that I just shared with all of you," Jean-Pierre concluded.
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