Everything you need to know about Karine Jean-Pierre, the new White House press secretary

A screenshot of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaking at an official briefing

“I am everything Trump hates,” said Karine Jean-Pierre back in 2018. 

“I am a Black woman. I am gay. I am a mom,” she added, speaking to MoveOn.org

Four years later, Karine Jean-Pierre has been announced as the White House press secretary – becoming the first Black person and first out LGBTQ+ person to take the role.

The 44-year-old Haitian-American will take over from current press secretary Jen Psaki on 13 May. In a White House statement, president Joe Biden praised her “experience, talent and honesty”.

Jean-Pierre said: “This is a historic moment and it’s not lost on me. I understand how important it is for so many people.”

Who is Karine Jean-Pierre?

Karine Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique to Haitian parents; her family later emigrated to the United States.

In New York, where she grew up, her father worked as a cab driver and her mother as a home caregiver.

She often tells of how growing up in an immigrant household defined her and taught her to work hard. It’s a story she told in her 2019 book Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America.

In New York, she went on to graduate from the prestigious Columbia University before taking her first steps into politics.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (R) introduces Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (L) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

She worked for Barack Obama during both of his presidential campaigns. When he was elected, she moved to Washington, DC and served as regional political director to the White House office of political affairs.

Having served as a a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and as chief public affairs officer for the advocacy group MoveOn.org, Jean-Pierre also worked on Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020 before joining his team at the White House as a deputy press secretary.

She is married to CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, with whom she shares a six-year-old daughter named Soleil (sunshine in French).

In addition to her background in politics, Jean-Pierre worked as a campaign manager for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative. She also advocates for breaking down mental health stigma.

Asked what she wanted to tell young Americans after being announced as the new White House press secretary, Jean-Pierre said: “If you work very hard for a goal, it will happen. Yes, you will suffer hard knocks, you will go through hard times, and it won’t always be easy, but the reward will be incredible, especially if you stay true to who you are.”

According to US media reports, Jen Psaki is set to join the progressive-oriented MSNBC.