On May 16, Karine Jean-Pierre made her debut as spokesperson for the president. Biden recognizing the unusual nature of his presence behind the White House lectern: “I am female, black, lesbian, immigrant, the first with all three characteristics to hold this position.”
What she did not say, on the other hand, is how her path to this position differs greatly from that of her predecessors.
“A lot of secrets and suffering”
Karine Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique to Haitian parents who eventually settled in New York, where they lived day to day. His family wore “many secrets, many unspoken sufferings”, she says in her Memoirs. As a child, she was sexually abused by a cousin. Then her mother took years to accept her daughter’s homosexuality. Karine Jean-Pierre, in her twenties, attempted suicide following a failure in her studies.
Then she went all out in political activism, going from meeting with voters in Far Rockaway, Queens, to serving in the White House Office of Political Affairs under President barack obama. However, although she has been an expert on [la chaîne d’information] MSNBC and national spokesperson for the progressive organization MoveOn.org, she rarely had to face a hostile press on a daily basis.
Jen Psaki, his predecessor, had become famous for her imperturbability and her heated spats with Fox News reporters. Karine Jean-Pierre has for the moment shown a more informal style: she is less dry than Mme Psaki and also knows how to be disarmingly laughing at herself when she stumbles over a word or two.
A “powerful” woman
“She has something a little introverted, which is strange
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