White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre takes a question from a reporter during her first press briefing as press secretary at the White House in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

UPDATED 8:51 AM PT – Tuesday, May 17, 2022

New White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre conducted her first press conference in the role. On Monday, she declared the press to be essential to a functioning democracy and said it’s okay to not see eye-to-eye on everything.

Jean-Pierre also said she wants to be as transparent about the Biden administration as possible. She then pointed out her status as the first black and openly gay press secretary as historic.

“I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts,” said the Press Secretary. “I am a black, gay immigrant woman; the first of all three of those to hold this position. I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barriers, barrier breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders.”

Jean-Pierre has a history of controversial comments such as declaring 45th President Donald Trump to be illegitimately elected and claiming that racism “invades every part of US society.”

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