Story at a glance

  • The political world is abuzz with speculation over who President-elect Joe Biden will choose for various positions.
  • According to NBC News and several other outlets, Biden is reportedly considering two Black women for press secretary.
  • There has never been a Black woman or openly LGBTQ+ White House press secretary.

Remember Sean Spicer? 

Despite being the public face of the executive branch, the White House press secretary wasn’t always as well known as recent appointees. But with the advent of televised press briefings and a rotating door of press secretaries under the Trump administration, there is much speculation about who will follow Kayleigh McEnany, the current press secretary. 


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While Biden is yet to announce his choice for the position, NBC News and other news outlets have reported that he is considering Karine Jean-Pierre and Symone Sanders. If selected, both would be the first Black woman in the position, while Jean-Pierre would also be the first openly LGBTQ+ person to represent the White House in this position.

 

“No final decisions have been made, officials stress, as the emerging West Wing leadership also considers how to structure the communications office in a rapidly-changing media environment," NBC News reporter Geoff Bennett said on Twitter, adding that final decisions are not expected until next week. 


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Sanders served as national press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2016 before acting as a senior adviser to the Biden-Harris campaign in 2020. Jean-Pierre, who served as regional political director in President Obama's administration, joined Vice President-elect Kamala Harris's campaign as the first Black person to serve as a presidential candidate’s chief of staff before following her onto the Biden ticket

Either woman would make history, following in the footsteps of Andrew Hatcher, who was the first Black associated press secretary under President John F. Kennedy, and Margaret "Dee Dee" Myers, who became the first woman in the position under President Bill Clinton.

"I think both Symone and Karine would be amazing press secretaries," Aimee Allison, president of She The People, told Newsweek. "Unlike in 2016, there is broad acknowledgement that Black women had a broad and central role in delivering the White House and we're the trusted voices."

And as Jean-Pierre, who has a daughter with her partner Suzanne Malveaux, herself said on Twitter, “Representation matters.”


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Published on Nov 19, 2020