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5 Things to Know About Karine Jean-Pierre

White House press sec. Jen Psaki introduces incoming press sec. Karine Jean-Pierre during a press briefing at the White House- AP

Last week, President Joe Biden announced that as Jen Psaki steps down as White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre will be the one to take her position.  Who is Jean-Pierre, besides being the first gay black woman in the role?

1. Karine Jean-Pierre is not new to the Biden administration

Jean-Pierre has worked in the Biden White House as Principal Deputy Press Secretary since the beginning of the administration. In this role, she has stepped in to host press briefings for Jen Psaki on multiple occasions when Psaki tested positive for COVID. Psaki calls her her “partner in truth.”

2. She starts in her new role soon

Jean-Pierre will start once Psaki steps down at the end of this week. Psaki originally planned to stay on as press secretary for just a year, but had extended her role another 6 months. Reports are that Psaki will go directly to hosting her own show on MSNBC’s Peacock streaming service, although Psaki has declined to confirm or deny the reports.

3. Jean-Pierre has worked in Democrat politics and progressive political activism all her life

After earning a Master of Public Affairs from Columbia University, Jean-Pierre started working with local New York politicians, then worked on the Obama presidential campaigns and administrations. She also worked as a spokeswoman for MoveOn, a progressive activism group and was a campaign manager for ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative, which describes abortion as “liberating” and “essential.” After a stint as a political analyst for NBC, Jean-Pierre advised the Biden campaign and was Kamala Harris’ chief of staff during the campaign.

4. Jean-Pierre has said that multiple recent American elections were ‘illegitimate’ and ‘stolen’

Jean-Pierre tweeted as recently as April 2020 that Georgia Governor Brian Kemp “stole” the 2018 gubernatorial election from Stacey Abrams. Her tweets, especially during her stint for MoveOn, included accusations that Trump was a Russian pawn, that the 2016 presidential election was stolen, and that Trump’s presidency was illegitimate.

5. Her new role has exposed her to conflicts of interest 

Jean-Pierre is in a domestic partnership with ‘star’ CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux, with whom she is raising an adopted daughter. Malveaux is in the prime of a long career with CNN, and was once CNN’s White House correspondent. Critics have asked how Jean-Pierre will remain impartial in the briefing room when her partner is so entrenched with CNN. Other conflict of interest concerns involve the potential for parallels to the Cuomo brothers’ drama. After trying to help then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo outrun sexual harassment claims, CNN host Chris Cuomo was fired once his efforts became too blatant to ignore.

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