the White House has a new face

The White House is getting into battle order before the midterm elections, which promise to be a difficult test for the Democrats. Announced by the American media for several weeks, the departure of spokesperson Jen Psaki was confirmed in a press release on Thursday, May 5. This will be replaced from May 13 by Karine Jean-Pierre, 44, her assistant until then. Joe Biden paid tribute to Jen Psaki, to her contribution to the “return to decency, respect and decorum in the White House press room”, after the erratic era of Donald Trump and his conflicting relationship with the press. He also greeted the future spokesperson for his administration, who will bring “the experience, the talent and the integrity necessary for this difficult work”.

“I am everything Donald Trump hates. I am a black woman, I am gay, I am a mother”, said Karine Jean-Pierre in 2018, when she worked for the left-wing organization MoveOn. Born in Martinique to Haitian parents, a graduate of Columbia University, she will be the first black and homosexual woman to occupy this very exposed position, where each sentence is likely to be interpreted or criticized. The number of articles on his appointment shows how much it is a position of power, with a powerful symbolic charge. “Representation Matters” said Jen Psaki at his side, moved, Thursday.

Karine Jean-Pierre has a long experience of public engagement. In May 2021, she was the first woman of color to take the lectern in the press room – a one-time replacement for Jen Psaki – since Judy Smith, President George Bush’s deputy spokesperson, in 1991.

The promoted worked in Barack Obama’s team during his victories in 2008 and then in 2012, before joining Joe Biden’s entourage during his presidential campaign, at the head of the staff of the future vice-president, Kamala Harris. . Karine Jean-Pierre also worked as an editorial writer on television, on the MSNBC channel, a return trip with which political communication experts are very familiar in the United States. Moreover, according to the American press, Jen Psaki is preparing to make this passage in the opposite direction, by joining this same left-wing channel. “Sorry to see you go”politely threw Peter Doocy, correspondent for the conservative Fox News channel, on Thursday. ” Really ? » she replied mischievously, tit for tat.

Normalization and irritation

Under the Biden presidency, relations with the press have normalized, sometimes to the despair of certain editorial staff in search of polemics and crisp little sentences. Jen Psaki was of a professionalism, skill and courtesy recognized by most journalists, moving with ease from one subject to another, from the war in Ukraine to the migratory pressure at the Mexican border. , not to mention ten other related topics.

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