WASHINGTON - The new White House press secretary takes over today. Karin Jean-Pierre's promotion makes her the first black person to hold the key post.
It's the press secretary's job to speak for the White House, dispense news and try to manage the media.
A former chief of staff to Kamala Harris, Jean-Pierre has been promoted in what's regarded as the most diverse administration in U.S history.
"She will be the first black woman, first LGBTQ+ person to serve in this role," said outgoing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Born to Haitian parents and raised in Queens, New York, Jean-Pierre, has a long career in Democratic communications. She succeeds Psaki who's taking an on-air role at MSNBC.
In a statement, President Joe Biden said she "Brings the experience, talent, and integrity needed for this difficult job."
It's a job that also comes at a difficult time for the administration. A veteran of two presidential campaigns, the 44-year-old now takes on the challenge of conveying the administration's message as midterm elections loom and Biden's popularity plummets.
"I just appreciate this moment and I hope that I make people proud," said Jean-Pierre.
Jean-Pierre is aware of the media's impact on politics, often using it in her past role as a Democratic strategist.
While receiving wide praise for the high-profile position, not everyone is embracing Biden's pick to replace Psaki.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted, "Amidst all the celebration of Biden's new press secretary checking multiple boxes in identity politics, the mainstream media forgot to mention that she hates Israel."
Amidst all the celebration of Biden’s new press secretary checking multiple boxes in identity politics, the mainstream media forgot to mention that she hates Israel.https://t.co/Cz9LDUfQi9
— David M Friedman (@DavidM_Friedman) May 7, 2022
In 2019, as a spokesperson for Moveon.org, Jean-Pierre wrote a scathing op-ed published in Newsweek endorsing the boycott of a historically bipartisan group that advocates for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.
"Karine Jean-Pierre has a history of making anti-Israel statements. As an example, she accused Israel of war crimes quote-unquote," said former U.S. Envoy Ellie Conahim. "She also accused the America-Israel Political Action Committee, AIPAC, of indulging in racism and Islamophobia. One wonders whether she'll be capable of being objective."
Critics also charge Jean-Pierre's romantic relationship with CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux is a conflict of interest in the press secretary's position. Though a similar arrangement happened during the Obama administration with press secretary Jay Carney, CNN has sidelined Malveaux from covering politics and the White House for now.
"Should it matter? No. But it does. Why does it matter? Because we're in a climate now in a media, political climate that is so polarized, the last thing you want is the appearance of a conflict of interest," said CBN News Chief Political Analyst David Brody.
Jean-Pierre also has a history of pushing disinformation as critics point to tweets sent shortly after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in which she called "stolen."
She also made a similar claim regarding Stacy Abrams' loss following the 2018 Georgia governor's race.
"There needs to be a measure of credibility and if you've been on the record declaring Stacy Abrams is the secret winner of the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race, that credibility is very severely and perhaps irreparably strained," said Peter Boyer, president of the Government Accountability Institute.
Press secretaries have the power to shape a presidential agenda and public perception. Jean Pierre's supporters insist she will use the power of her post wisely.