White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history Wednesday when she led the daily White House press briefing.

Jean-Pierre, filling in for White House press secretary Jen Psaki, was the first openly LGBTQ+ person to ever lead a press briefing (she’s a lesbian) and the first Black woman to address the White House press corps in three decades.

In her briefing, Jean-Pierre first highlighted new hirings in the administration, which included women of color such as Kristen Clark, the new head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, who will head up the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.

Jean-Pierre then answered questions on the administration’s plans to find the origins of the coronavirus and details on Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Jose. The principal deputy press secretary was then asked to comment on the historic nature of her position behind the iconic White House podium.

“I appreciate the historic nature, I really do, but I believe 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. Clearly the president believes representation matters and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity, and it’s another reason we’re all so proud this is the most diverse administration in history.”

Jean-Pierre, an immigrant from Martinique who grew up in New York City, has a long history of political involvement. She has been a staffer in President Barack Obama’s administration and in his reelection campaign, chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org, and a commentator for NBC and MSNBC. During President Joe Biden’s campaign, she was a senior adviser and then chief of staff to Kamala Harris, making her the first Black person and first lesbian to hold that position for a vice-presidential nominee.

Watch the full briefing below.


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