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Karine Jean-Pierre is first Black woman to lead White House press briefing in 30 years

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House principal deputy press secretary, on Wednesday became the first Black woman to lead a formal White House press briefing in 30 years. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House principal deputy press secretary, on Wednesday became the first Black woman to lead a formal White House press briefing in 30 years. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

May 26 (UPI) -- Karine Jean-Pierre became the first Black woman in 30 years to lead a formal White House press briefing on Wednesday.

Jean-Pierre, the White House principal deputy press secretary, took questions from reporters in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, where she was asked about the historic moment.

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"It's a real honor to be standing here today. I appreciate the historic nature, I really do. But I believe that 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," Jean-Pierre said. "Clearly the president believes that representation matters and it's another reason why I think we're all so proud that this is the most diverse administration in history."

Judy Smith, a deputy press secretary for President George H.W. Bush and the inspiration for the character Olivia Pope on the television series Scandal, was the first Black woman to lead a briefing in 1991 and the last before Jean-Pierre.

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki described Wednesday as a "big day" in the press office.

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"My partner in truth ... is doing her first full briefing from the podium today making history in her own right," she wrote on Twitter. "But doing her real justice means also recognizing her talent, her brilliance and her wonderful spirit."

Jean-Pierre has previously conducted off-camera "gaggles" with press and smaller media availabilities with traveling press on Air Force One since joining the White House press staff.

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During the 2020 presidential campaign, Jean-Pierre also served as chief of staff to Vice President Kamala Harris, becoming the first Black person and first out lesbian to hold that position for a vice-presidential nominee.

She also previously worked in the Obama White House, as a national spokesperson for MoveOn.org and as an NBC News political analyst.

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