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Karine Jean-Pierre’s debut as White House press secretary

In her first press briefing as the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre talked about making history and practicing transparency through her role

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre laughs during her first press briefing as press secretary at the White House in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2022.

Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

On Monday, Karine Jean-Pierre made her debut as the White House press secretary by acknowledging the historic significance of her appointment, as well as promising to maintain a transparent dialogue.

“I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts,” Jean-Pierre said at the start of the afternoon briefing, per The Hill.

“I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman. The first of all three of those to hold this position. I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders.”

Per USA Today, she then told journalists that she will “work every day to continue to ensure we are meeting the president’s high expectation of truth, honesty and transparency” from the officials in the administration.

“The press plays a vital role in our democracy. And we need a strong and independent press now more than ever,” Jean-Pierre said. “We might not see eye to eye here in this room all the time, which is OK. That give and take is so incredibly healthy, and it’s a part of our democracy. And I look forward to engaging with all of you on that.”

Her first briefing was met with plenty of questions about the recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, the baby formula shortage and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Jean-Pierre had stepped in for former press secretary Jen Psaki in the past. Before taking on the position, she worked on the senior communications team at the White House under the Biden administration. She was also an adviser to Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaigns, per CNN.