Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House's principal
deputy press secretary, made history on Wednesday when she became the first openly gay woman and only the second Black woman to lead a White House press briefing
Answering reporters' questions from the White House podium on Wednesday, Jean-Pierre stated that it was a "true honor just to be standing here today" and that she appreciated the "historic nature
" of the occasion.
“It’s not about one person; it’s about what we do on behalf of the American people
,” the deputy press secretary said, adding that President Joe Biden
“clearly believes that representation
matters” and that she was proud to be a part of the most diverse administration in US history.
Jean-Pierre became the first Black woman in three decades to answer reporters' questions from the podium, in addition to being the first openly gay spokeswoman.
Judy Smith, the former deputy press secretary to former President George H.W. Bush
, was the first Black woman to lead a White House briefing in 1991.
Smith embraced Jean-Pierre on Wednesday, marking a historic handover of the baton.
: @JudySmith_ and @KJP46, the first and second Black women to lead a press briefing at the @WhiteHouse pic.twitter.com/kKDTgQupiW — Khanya Brann (@khanyabrann46) May 26, 2021
Smith told Yahoo News
late last year that she "didn't think" about her historic position "at the time," instead focusing on the "incredible opportunity" of working at the White House.
“I didn’t realize the significance of getting up, briefing at that time, seeing a Black woman behind the podium, speaking on behalf of the president to the American public,” Smith said.
Smith's work later inspired the hit TV show "Scandal" by Shonda Rhimes