White House commits to sign language interpreter at every press briefing

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Monday that an American Sign Language interpreter will be a regular fixture at daily press briefings during the Biden administration.

“As a part of this administration’s accessibility and inclusion efforts, starting today, we will have an ASL — an American Sign Language interpreter — for our daily press briefings,” she announced.

“The president is committed to building an America that is more inclusive, more just and more accessible for every American, including Americans with disabilities and their families,” she added.

This is the first time a sign language interpreter will participate in the White House’s press briefings on a daily basis.

Last week, Georgia firefighter Andrea Hall used ASL as she recited the Pledge of Allegiance at President Biden’s inauguration, marking the first time the pledge had been signed at a presidential inauguration.

The ceremony also included live closed captioning, streamtext captions, Certified Deaf Interpreters and audio descriptions of the event, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

ASL interpreters have been used at White House press briefings before, though not on a regular basis. An interpreter was present at a Nov. 19 White House coronavirus task force briefing after a federal judge in September ordered the Trump administration include one at future COVID-19 briefings.

“Closed captioning and transcripts may constitute a reasonable accommodation under some circumstances, but not here,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, wrote in his ruling.

Tags American Sign Language Deaf and hard of hearing Jen Psaki White House press briefings

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