Karine Jean-Pierre will only be the second black woman in 30 years to give a briefing at the White House

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Karine Jean-Pierre makes history by becoming the first openly gay woman and only the second black woman in 30 years to give a briefing – and could be in line to replace Jen Psaki

  • Jean-Pierre held her first press conference at the White House
  • She is the main deputy to press secretary Jen Psaki
  • She read a lengthy statement and then asked questions about Wuhan
  • ‘I don’t have that information to share with you right now’
  • She is the first black woman to brief reporters in the role since 1991
  • She is also the first openly gay woman to deliver the briefing

Deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history when she took the White House stage on Wednesday, as the first black woman to lead the briefing since 1991.

The longtime Democratic agent stepped in to press secretary Jen Psaki, who congratulated her on her “big day” before speaking to the press.

She answered questions for more than 50 minutes and occasionally read from pre-prepared speaking points. She also showed a knack for tactics that her predecessors used because they did not provide much new information in response to questions.

Karine Jean-Pierre held her first press conference at the White House, becoming the first black woman to lead the daily briefing since 1991

Karine Jean-Pierre held her first press conference at the White House, becoming the first black woman to lead the daily briefing since 1991

“I don’t have that information to share with you right now,” she said in response to a direct question about the US intelligence community and China.

Several reporters acknowledged her debut on stage, although she had also had less formal “ talks ” with the press during previous trips aboard Air Force One.

When someone asked her to comment on the moment, she replied, “It is truly an honor to be here today. I appreciate its historical nature, I really do. But I believe that standing behind this platform, 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. ‘

“It is clear that the president believes that representation is important, and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity,” she added.

“This isn’t about me, this isn’t about us,” she added.

She made history in other ways too. She is the first openly gay woman to brief the press from the podium. She is married to CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux.

Jean-Pierre is the child of immigrants and is the first openly gay woman to inform the press of the role

Jean-Pierre is the child of immigrants and is the first openly gay woman to inform the press of the role

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, acknowledges Jean-Pierre for 'making history'

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, acknowledges Jean-Pierre for ‘making history’

Assistant Press Secretary Judy Smith briefed the press in 1991 during the George HW Bush administration

Assistant Press Secretary Judy Smith briefed the press in 1991 during the George HW Bush administration

Karine Jean Pierre and Suzanne Malveaux attend the CNN Correspondents' Brunch at Toolbox Studio on April 26, 2015 in Washington, DC.  Jean-Pierre is the first openly gay woman to lead the briefing

Karine Jean Pierre and Suzanne Malveaux attend the CNN Correspondents’ Brunch at Toolbox Studio on April 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. Jean-Pierre is the first openly gay woman to lead the briefing

The 43-year-old was born in Martinique and is the child of Haitian immigrants who later moved to New York.

Pastor Judy Smith, who was deputy press secretary in the George HW Bush administration in 1991, was the first black woman to inform the press of the role.

Other black women, including National Security Advisor Susan Rice, occasionally spoke to briefing room reporters in their various roles.

Jean-Pierre is considered a likely successor to Psaki, who said she expects to fill her role for about a year.

Psaki hyped the moment on Twitter earlier on Wednesday. “Today is a big day at the news agency and @WhiteHouse. My partner in truth – @ KJP46 today gives her first full briefing from the stage and makes history in her own way. But doing her real justice also means recognizing her talent, her genius and her wonderful mind. ‘

Like Psaki, Jean-Pierre promised to provide ‘transparency’ from the stage.

She succeeded in at least one capacity: she didn’t make big news.

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