A Conversation With the White House Press Secretary

Skye with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in the Press Secretary’s office

On November 20, I visited the White House in Washington, D.C., to report on the traditional Thanksgiving turkey pardoning. I also spoke with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and attended the daily press briefing.

Jean-Pierre has been the top spokesperson for United States President Joe Biden since May 2022. Before that, she served as Principal Deputy Press Secretary.

Jean-Pierre has a long history in politics and government. She served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign and as a regional political director during President Barack Obama’s campaigns. Jean-Pierre has also worked as an advisor to a political advocacy group and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

To arrange the interview, I had to approach a group of White House staffers known as “wranglers.” Their offices are in the Press Briefing Room. They handle questions posed by journalists covering the White House. 

Shortly after my request, Yemisi Egbewole, Chief of Staff for the White House Press Office, escorted my mother and me upstairs in the West Wing. We were led to the Press Secretary’s office, which is across the hall from the Oval Office. Our 10-minute interview took place before Jean-Pierre conducted the daily press briefing. 


The Press Secretary addresses White House reporters in the Press Briefing Room as Skye looks on.


I asked Jean-Pierre what her role entails. “I’m the President’s top spokesperson,” she said. “Whatever the President wants to get out there to the American people or to the world, I’m the top person who gets to go out there on TV or in the Press Briefing Room and tell that story, or tell the American people: Here are the things the President wants to do.”

When I asked what her top priority is, she said, “The American people expect us to be truthful, to be honest, to share exactly what we believe is important. What we are doing on their behalf.”

Each day, White House reporters gather in the Press Briefing Room to ask about the President’s response to national and international events. “They ask me questions about an array of topics and issues,” Jean-Pierre explained. “It’s an important job to be the voice of the President when he is not out there speaking, or when he needs someone to speak a little more or take questions.”

I asked Jean-Pierre what she likes most about her role. “When a young person comes up and says they want to be the Press Secretary, that makes my day,” she said. Talking to young people, she added, “is the best part of the job.” 


John F. Kirby, a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who serves as Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, talks with reporters on November 20. Jean-Pierre is to his right.  


After our interview, Jean-Pierre began the press briefing. At the podium in the Press Briefing Room, she made a brief statement to reporters about the economy, a chief concern nationwide.

“Lowering costs for Americans continues to be the President’s top economic priority,” she said. “From strengthening supply chains, to lowering energy and healthcare costs, to cracking down on price gouging [raising prices unfairly].”

After her opening statement, Jean-Pierre introduced John F. Kirby, a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who is now the national security spokesperson for the White House. 

Kirby offered reporters details about the wars in Ukraine and Israel, as well as President Biden’s recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

























Photos courtesy of the author