I will miss Jen Psaki. After the 4 years of the previous administration with such reprobates as the bumbling Sean Spicer, the nasty Sarah Huckabee Sanders, silent Stephanie Grisham, and the grand bimbo Kayleigh McEnany, Ms. Psaki has been as a breath of fresh air. I shall miss her compassion and her intelligence, as well as her uncanny ability to put an antagonist in his place without missing a beat. Would that we could make her position a lifelong appointment …
But Ms. Psaki said early in her tenure that she would not stay for the entire 4-year term of the Biden presidency, and in fact she expected to stay only a year or so, but a series of crises – the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continuation of the pandemic, among other issues – convinced her to stay longer. However, she has other fish to fry, and we owe her a debt of gratitude for bringing intelligence, humour and dignity back into the White House pressroom.
And now, it’s time to move on. But my sadness over Psaki’s leaving is offset by my joy at her chosen replacement! Allow me to introduce Ms. Karine Jean-Pierre. Jean-Pierre has been White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary since 2021 and served as the chief of staff for vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on the 2020 United States presidential campaign. Prior to that, she was the senior advisor and national spokeswoman for MoveOn.org and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. She is also a former lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University.
Ms. Jean-Pierre’s educational background makes her a fine fit for the office of press secretary: She is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology. She received her MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in 2003, where she served in student government and decided to pursue politics.
She brings a combination of education and experience that far exceeds any of the four from the previous administration. Oh yes, and she adds something else to the Biden administration: diversity. You see, Ms. Jean-Pierre is the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to serve in this position. Now, I’m thrilled about the diversity, happy to see that President Biden is keeping his promise to diversify the executive branch, but I don’t want that to be the sole focus, for Ms. Jean-Pierre is more than that. It would be unfair to assume that she only got the job because of her skin colour or gender identification. She is a well-qualified woman who will do an excellent job … and she has a big pair of shoes to fill!
In making the announcement, President Biden said …
“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. Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.
Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room. I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen for her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”
Ms. Jean-Pierre and her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, are the parents of one daughter. As she said of her work in the Obama White House …
“What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many. President Obama didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT. Serving and working for President Obama where you can be openly gay has been an amazing honor. It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that prioritizes LGBT issues.”
Welcome aboard, Ms. Jean-Pierre … we look forward to seeing you in action! And Ms. Psaki – you will be missed, and yours will be a long-lived legacy, for you restored so much to the position. Thank you for all that you did.