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Karine Jean-Pierre hosts first briefing as White House press secretary

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Karine Jean-Pierre hosts first briefing as White House press secretary
Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday hosted her first briefing as White House press secretary since taking over the role from Jen Psaki. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

May 16 (UPI) -- Karine Jean-Pierre held her first briefing as White House press secretary on Monday, acknowledging the historic nature of the event.

"I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman. The first of all three of those to hold this position," she said.

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Jean-Pierre, 47, had served as principal deputy press secretary for Jen Psaki, who stepped down from the role last week, since Biden was inaugurated in January 2021.

During this time she often filled in for Psaki or was the main White House press liaison when Psaki wasn't present, including in May 2021 when she became the first black woman to lead a White House press briefing since Judy Smith, a deputy press secretary for President George H.W. Bush, did so in 1991.

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"If it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me I would not be here," Jean-Pierre said Monday. "But I benefit from their sacrifices, I have learned from their excellence and I am forever grateful to them."

Psaki restored the daily press briefing after the tradition was cast aside during Donald Trump's presidency.

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Jean-Pierre is expected to continue the practice, saying Monday that she would "work every day to continue to ensure we are meeting the president's high expectation of truth, honesty and transparency."

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"I also have tremendous respect for the work that you all do, which I know is not easy," she told reporters. "The press plays a vital role in our democracy and we need a strong and independent press now more than ever."

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