Standing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room wearing the color yellow symbolizing confidence and warmth, while sporting a close cropped afro, Karine Jean-Pierre, the Biden Administration’s Principal Deputy Press Secretary, appeared as the first Black woman to field reporter’s questions in three decades on Wednesday.
Jean-Pierre follows in the footsteps of Judy Smith, who served under former President George H.W. Bush. Smith made history as the first Black to hold the position when she took the podium in 1991. The moment on Wednesday doubled in historic value as Jean-Pierre is also the first openly gay spokesperson.
On Jean-Pierre’s agenda were more history markers, the confirmation of Kristen Clarke as the first Black woman to lead the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure’s confirmation to became the first Black person lead Medicare and Medicaid Services. Jean-Pierre also discussed Biden’s plans to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Black Wall Street Massacre, Biden’s $213B infrastructure plan and a recent inquiry into COVID-19’s origins.
“It’s a real honor just to be standing here today,” Jean-Pierre said when asked about the brevity of the moment. “I appreciate the historic nature, I really do. But I believe 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.”
Other Black journalists and Jean-Pierre’s supporters tweeted their support.
After the historic briefing Jean-Pierre appeared on MSNBC with Joy Reid to discuss her thoughts and to help the public understand Biden’s agenda.
“I stand on so many shoulders. It’s not just me. There are so many people that has come before me,” she began after Reid congratulated her.
Jean-Pierre revealed that Smith surprised her by showing up at the press briefing. “It was just amazing to meet her for the first time and for her to support,” she said.
“There’s something about this moment that we’re in,” she continued when asked about the Clarke confirmation. “The diversity, the movement of Black women and where we are in different positions. And this is an administration that is the most diverse administration ever. And that is because this is a promise that the president made on the campaign, a promise that the president kept, clearly now in the administration.”
Jean-Pierre said it was an “honor” to brief the journalists on Clarke’s appointment to the DOJ, and to work alongside the first Black woman Vice President, Kamala Harris.
“This is a moment to be proud of in this country, and this is a place, a White House, this Biden-Harris administration that I couldn’t be prouder to be part of,” Jean-Pierre said.
Reid used the moment to discuss the road ahead and some of the tougher issues that the Biden-Harris faces, first being the Senate’s failure in passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act prior to Floyd’s one-year death anniversary.
“He wanted to continue to show and tell them that he’s 100 percent behind in getting this done. He’s pleased to see it’s a bi-partisan effort,” she said and vowed that the president will continue to work with the bill’s sponsors, Sens. Cory Booker, Tim Scott and Rep. Karen Bass, in presenting legislation that can be passed through the Senate.
Reid pressed Jean-Pierre about Biden’s agenda asking if the Biden-Harris administration seemed too hopeful that their agenda can be pushed through while Republicans focus on backing legislation which restricts voting rights and Democrats zone in on eliminating the filibuster.
“One of the things that he understands is that it’s going to take time to bring everyone together but we have to make the effort,” she said. “The American people want to see some bi-partisanship and so this is what we’re trying to do,” she continued in reference to Biden’s proposals regarding infrastructure, the economy and job creation.
You can read the full transcript of Jean-Pierre’s White House briefing here.
Here Are All The Black People In Joe Biden's Cabinet And His Most Senior Advisers
1. Adewale Adeyemo, Deputy Treasury SecretarySource:Twitter 1 of 19
2. Gen. Lloyd Austin, Department of DefenseSource:Getty 2 of 19
3. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, vice chair of the Democratic National CommitteeSource:Getty 3 of 19
4. Kirsten Clarke, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights DivisionSource:Getty 4 of 19
5. Ashley Etienne, Kamala Harris’ Chief Communications Director
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Ashley Etienne is the Communications Director for MVP Kamala Harris. She’s not new to the game. Etienne was the communications director for the House Oversight Committee under the late Elijah Cummings. Biden-Harris administration has chosen the best!👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/FLVgWZCdUn— silverprincess💛 (@marsha_vivinate) November 30, 2020
6. Tina Flournoy, Vice President's Chief Of Staff6 of 19
7. Rep. Marcia Fudge, Housing and Urban DevelopmentSource:Getty 7 of 19
8. Joelle Gamble, National Economic CouncilSource:Courtesy of Biden-Harris Transition Team 8 of 19
9. Shuwanza Goff, Deputy Director Of The White House Office Of Legislative AffairsSource:Joe Biden Communications Coalitions 9 of 19
10. Jamie Harrison, DNC ChairSource:Getty 10 of 19
11. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Deputy Press SecretarySource:Getty 11 of 19
12. Brenda Mallory, Council on Environmental Quality ChairpersonSource:Getty 12 of 19
13. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Co-Chair of Biden's Coronavirus Task Force
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Finally, some science.— NewsOne (@newsone) November 16, 2020
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a doctor and college professor promoting health and healthcare equity for structurally marginalized populations, will co-chair Joe Biden's Covid task force.https://t.co/cUHso6sruX
14. Michael Regan, EPA
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Biden picks Michael Regan, top North Carolina environmental official, to run EPA https://t.co/JJzYjFdevB— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 17, 2020
15. Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Council DirectorSource:Getty 15 of 19
16. Cedric RichmondSource:Getty 16 of 19
17. Cecilia Rouse, Council of Economic Advisors chairpersonSource:Getty 17 of 19
18. Symone Sanders, Vice President's spokesperson
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All of the reporting I've seen has indicated @SymoneDSanders is the frontrunner for Press Secretary so I'm expecting her to be picked. But let me add to the chorus to say she is the CREDENTIALS pick in addition to being historic. #BlackWomenLead https://t.co/cvFGjq1xLB pic.twitter.com/4Qd5D14pVR— BlackWomenViews Media (@blackwomenviews) November 14, 2020
19. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, UN AmbassadorSource:Getty 19 of 19
Karine Jean-Pierre Said Standing ‘On So Many Shoulders’ Made Historic White House Briefing Possible was originally published on newsone.com