|35th White House Press Secretary|
|Assumed office |
May 13, 2022
|Deputy||Olivia Dalton (Principal Deputy)|
|Preceded by||Jen Psaki|
|White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary|
January 20, 2021 – May 13, 2022
|Preceded by||Brian Morgenstern|
|Succeeded by||Olivia Dalton|
|Born||August 13, 1974|
Fort-de-France, Martinique, France
|Education||New York Institute of Technology (BS)|
Columbia University (MPA)
Karine Jean-Pierre (born August 13, 1974)[a] is an American political advisor who has served as the White House press secretary since May 13, 2022. She is the first black person, first black woman, and the first openly LGBT person to serve in the position. Previously, she served as the deputy press secretary to her predecessor Jen Psaki from 2021 to 2022 and as the chief of staff for U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign.
Prior to her work with Kamala Harris during the 2020 election and with the Biden–Harris administration, Jean-Pierre was the senior advisor and national spokeswoman for the progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org. She was also previously a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and a lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University.
Early life and education
Jean-Pierre was born in Fort-de-France, Martinique, France, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. She has two younger siblings, and was age five when her family relocated to Queens Village, a neighborhood in Queens, New York City. Her mother worked as a home health aide and was active in her Pentecostal church, while her father was a taxi driver, who had trained as an engineer. Jean-Pierre was often responsible for caring for her siblings, eight and ten years younger, because both parents worked six or seven days per week.
In her memoir, Jean-Pierre describes how seeing former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan give a keynote speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention altered the direction of her life and career: "She was the first black woman in politics I had ever witnessed. In a world of pretty, pearl-wearing charmers, Jordan was substantive and authentic."
Jean-Pierre graduated from Kellenberg Memorial High School, a college-preparatory school on Long Island, in 1993. Her parents wanted her to study medicine, and she studied life sciences at the New York Institute of Technology as a commuter student, but performed poorly on the Medical College Admission Test. Changing career tracks, she earned a bachelor's degree from the New York Institute of Technology in 1997. She earned a Master of Public Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University, in 2003, where she served in student government and decided to pursue politics. At Columbia University, one of her mentors was Ester Fuchs, whose class she attended during the Fall 2001 semester.
Following graduate school, Jean-Pierre worked as the director of legislative and budget affairs for New York City councilor James F. Gennaro. In 2006, she was hired as the outreach coordinator for Walmart Watch in Washington, D.C. She was the southeast regional political director for John Edwards' presidential campaign in 2004. She joined the Columbia University faculty in 2014, where she is a lecturer in international and public affairs.
During Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, Jean-Pierre was the campaign's southeast regional political director and was the regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama administration's first term.
In 2011, Jean-Pierre served as National Deputy Battleground States Director for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. She led the delegate selection and ballot access process and managed the political engagement in key states, providing resources to help states determine "the best way for them to get the word out for the campaign."
MoveOn and political commentary
In April 2016, MoveOn named Jean-Pierre as a senior advisor and national spokesperson for the 2016 presidential election. MoveOn said she would "advise on and serve as a spokesperson around MoveOn's electoral work, including a major effort to stand up to Donald Trump."
Jean-Pierre worked as a senior advisor to Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign. She joined the Biden team in May 2020, and explained to The Haitian Times that a desire to shape the future was especially motivating; she said that when she was approached by the campaign, she looked at her daughter and thought, "There is no way I can not get involved in this election." In August, it was announced that Jean-Pierre would serve as the Chief of Staff for Biden's vice presidential nominee, who had not yet been announced.
First press briefing
On November 29, 2020, the Biden-Harris transition team announced that Jean-Pierre had been made Principal Deputy Press Secretary. On May 26, 2021, she gave her first White House press briefing, becoming the first openly LGBTQ person to do so and the first Black woman to do so since 1991.
Succeeding Jen Psaki
On May 5, 2022, it was announced that she would succeed Jen Psaki as White House Press Secretary on May 13. She is the first Black person and the first openly LGBTQ person to hold the position.
She has repeatedly evaded questions by citing Hatch Act, a federal law that, according to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), "limits certain political activities of federal employees". Reporters have complained that she has applied the law too broadly.
In June 2023, the OSC concluded that Jean-Pierre had violated the Hatch Act in her briefings before the 2022 midterm election, and gave her a warning. She had repeatedly made references to "MAGA Republicans", and referred to candidates as "mega MAGA Republican officials who don't believe in the rule of law". Ana Galindo-Marrone, the head of OSC's Hatch Act unit, wrote in a letter that it was not clear whether Jean-Pierre had willfully violated the law, but warned that further "prohibited political activity" would be considered "a knowing and willful violation of the law that could result in OSC pursuing disciplinary action". Jean-Pierre said that she had been "given the sign off to use that terminology" at the time.
Criticism of Rashida Tlaib's Israel remarks
On November 7, 2023, 212 Republicans, and 22 Democrats, voted for Representative Rich McCormick's resolution (H.Res 845), which accused U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib of "promoting false narratives" regarding the Hamas attack on Israel, for "calling for the destruction of the state of Israel", and for other statements related to the Israel-Hamas war, including use of the phrase "from the river to the sea", which has been described by both the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League as being antisemitic hate speech.
On November 8, 2023, Jean-Pierre condemned Tlaib's use of the phrase as "hurtful" and "divisive" and rejected application of "that term to the conflict."
Jean-Pierre's book, Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America, was published in 2019. She reviews her life and encourages people to become involved in politics. It was described by WJLA-TV as "part memoir, part call to arms".
- Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America. New York: Hanover Square Press. November 5, 2019. ISBN 978-1-335-91783-6.
- McLauughlin, Dan (January 27, 2023). "How Old is Karine Jean-Pierre?". National Review.
- Collins, Kaitlan (May 5, 2022). "Karine Jean-Pierre to become White House press secretary, the first Black and out LGBTQ person in the role". CNN. Archived from the original on May 9, 2022. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
- Eugenios, Jillian (June 1, 2021). "Karine Jean-Pierre on building a 'stronger and more inclusive' America". NBC News. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
- "Karine Jean-Pierre: Five Things To Know About Kamala Harris' New Powerhouse Chief Of Staff". BET. August 13, 2020. Archived from the original on September 18, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
- Woodruff, Julie (November 26, 2019). "Karine Jean-Pierre on her mental health struggle and a blueprint for activism". PBS Newsour. Archived from the original on May 27, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
- "Karine Jean-Pierre". National Black Justice Coalition. February 19, 2021. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
- "Karine Jean-Pierre". The Haitian Roundtable. Archived from the original on March 19, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
- Lorand, Karl. "Kamala Harris et Karine Jean-Pierre, deux femmes noires et caribéennes dans le premier cercle de Joe Biden". www.rci.fm (in French). Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
- Jean-Pierre, Karine (2019). "Chapter One: My Story". Moving Forward. Hanover Square Press. ISBN 9781488054105.
- Bojarski, Sam (October 23, 2020). "Karine Jean-Pierre: Biden Adviser And The Face Of An Inclusive America". The Haitian Times. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
- Jean-Pierre, Karine (November 5, 2019). Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America. Harlequin. ISBN 9781488054105.
- Guerrero, Desirée (December 25, 2019). "MSNBC Analyst Karine Jean-Pierre Is Proof Representation Matters". Advocate. No. 1106.
- "New White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has ties to NYC, Long Island". WABC-TV. May 6, 2022. Archived from the original on May 9, 2022. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
- Grynbaum, Michael M. (May 20, 2022). "Karine Jean-Pierre's Unlikely Rise to the White House Lectern". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
- Glueck, Katie; Kaplan, Thomas (December 1, 2020). "Four Women Who Will Handle the Media in the Biden White House". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
- "FEMALE RISING – 7 Caribbean American Women Making Waves". News America Now. March 15, 2018. Archived from the original on May 14, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- "Karine Jean-Pierre: Biography". School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Archived from the original on June 21, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- Norris, Molly (January 15, 2018). "Political activist Karine Jean-Pierre encourages action, proactivity in speech". The Michigan Daily. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- "Haitian Newsmakers Of The Year". The Haitian Times. December 27, 2018. Archived from the original on May 27, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- Allen, Mike (August 25, 2011). "Obama 2012 launches Project Vote". Politico. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
- Johnson, Chris (September 8, 2011). "Behind the scenes of the Obama campaign". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
- "Women on the Verge Part Two". The Advocate. June 9, 2011. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
- "MoveOn.com Names Karine Jean-Pierre As Senior Advisor & National Spokesperson for 2016 Elections". Politico. April 27, 2016. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
- Concha, Joe (January 8, 2019). "MoveOn.org senior adviser joins NBC, MSNBC as political analyst". The Hill. Archived from the original on May 14, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
- "Karine Jean-Pierre: The Child of Haitian Immigrants Who Became the Forefront of U.S. Politics". L'Union Suite. August 16, 2017. Archived from the original on August 7, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- Wilkie, Christina (August 11, 2020). "Biden campaign prepares for VP pick announcement". CNBC. Archived from the original on October 4, 2020. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
- Swasey, Benjamin (November 29, 2020). "Biden Names All-Female White House Communications Team; Will Tap Tanden For OMB". NPR. Archived from the original on May 27, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
- Rascoe, Ayesha (May 26, 2021). "Karine Jean-Pierre Is The 1st Black Woman In Decades To Brief White House Press". NPR. Archived from the original on September 16, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
- Malloy, Allie; Kelly, Caroline. "Karine Jean-Pierre becomes first Black woman in 30 years to host daily White House press briefing". CNN. Archived from the original on October 8, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
- Chalfant, Morgan (May 5, 2022). "Karine Jean-Pierre to replace Psaki as White House press secretary". The Hill. Archived from the original on May 13, 2022. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
- Megerian, Chris (June 13, 2023). "White House press secretary has violated rule against politics on the job, watchdog says". The Associated Press.
- Garrison, Joey (June 13, 2023). "White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre violated Hatch Act, watchdog agency says". USA Today.
- Brito, Christopher (June 14, 2023). "What is the Hatch Act – and what count as a violation?". CBS News.
- Pengelly, Martin (June 13, 2023). "Biden press chief violated Hatch Act with 'mega Maga' remark – watchdog". The Guardian.
- Ward, Myah (April 25, 2023). "White House press secretary clarifies answer on whether Biden would serve full 8 years". Politico.
- Bailey, Chelsea (April 26, 2023). "Biden aide gaffe leads to campaign clarification". BBC News.
- "House censures Rep. Rashida Tlaib over Israel remarks". NBC News. November 7, 2023. Archived from the original on November 8, 2023. Retrieved November 9, 2023.
- Grisales, Claudia (November 7, 2023). "House votes to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib for Israel-Hamas war comments". NPR. Archived from the original on November 9, 2023. Retrieved November 7, 2023.
- Solender, Andrew (November 7, 2023). "Rashida Tlaib censured by House over Israel comments". Axios. Archived from the original on November 8, 2023. Retrieved November 9, 2023.
- Friedman, Lisa (November 8, 2023). "The White House condemns Rashida Tlaib's embrace of the 'River to the Sea' slogan". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2023. Retrieved November 7, 2023.
- Meredith Clark (September 8, 2023). "Karine Jean-Pierre reveals split from partner Suzanne Malveaux after more than 10 years together". The Independent. Retrieved September 13, 2023.
- Reimann, Nicholas (May 5, 2022). "Who Is Karine Jean-Pierre, Biden's Next Press Secretary?". Forbes. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
- "Karine Jean-Pierre on "Moving Forward" and inspiring a new generation of changemakers". WJLA-TV. November 8, 2019. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
- Many media outlets have incorrectly reported that Jean-Pierre was born in 1977. The first chapter of Jean-Pierre's memoir Moving Forward states, "About a year later, on August 13, 1974, I was born in Fort-de- France in Martinique."