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New White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pointed to her race and sexual orientation during her first opening remarks on the job, thanking those who fought for the progress that allowed her to fill her new role.
“I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts. I am a black, gay, immigrant woman, the first of all three of those to hold this position,” Jean-Pierre said during her first briefing Monday. “I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders.”
The new press secretary also thanked President Biden, saying his administration is the “not only the most diverse administration in history,” but one that is full of “barrier-breaking women and men” such as Vice President Kamala Harris, senior staff and Supreme Court nominees.
Jean-Pierre takes over for outgoing press Secretary Jen Psaki, who held her last briefing on Friday before departing for her new role at MSNBC.
Psaki became known for her often tense exchanges with Fox News’ Peter Doocy, who told the outgoing press secretary that he was “sorry to see” her go.
Are you?” Psaki responded as laughter broke out in the briefing room.
“Yes,” Doocy replied. “And you’ve always been a good sport. So, on behalf of everybody, thank you for everything.”
Doocy will now have to question Jean-Pierre, who served as the White House principal deputy press secretary before being elevated to her new job.
Jean-Pierre, who was born in France but raised in the U.S., worked as the national spokeswoman for MoveOn.org and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC before joining the Biden administration.
She told the gathered press that she was “honored” to fill her new role, saying that the White House “belongs to the American people” and that she “works for them.”