Josh Earnest will become the next White House press secretary, President Barack Obama announced on Friday.
Earnest, the current deputy press secretary, will take over for the departing Jay Carney in mid-June, at which point he will become the most powerful voice for pushing the White House’s message.
Earnest’s promotion couldn’t come at a more important time for the White House. In addition to the burgeoning scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Earnest will be in charge of pushing the White House and broader Democratic agenda leading up to the midterm elections later this year. Democrats are trying to avoid losing control of the Senate, which would put a major dent on Obama’s plans for his final two years in office.
Earnest currently serves as the administration’s deputy press secretary and special assistant to the president. When Carney takes a day off or is attending to other obligations, Earnest is usually the one to step in.
After growing up in Kansas City and graduating from Rice University in 1997, Earnest immediately went to work in politics. He worked on the 1997 mayoral campaign of Lee Brown, the first African-American mayor of Houston.
He proceeded to work on former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s first campaign, according to a McClatchy profile published during the 2012 campaign. He then served as a congressional aide to Rep. Marion Berry, a former congressman from Arkansas.
Earnest has been with Obama from the early moments his rise to become president. He joined then-Sen. Barack Obama’s first White House bid in 2007 as its Iowa communications director. Later, when Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton were still slogging it out in the Democratic primary, he served as the campaign’s Texas communications director.
In the McClatchy profile from 2012, Earnest said his primary focus was prepping Carney for his daily, hour-long sessions with the press. Now, he’ll be leading them.
“Most evenings, the first 15 minutes of the network news is composed of challenges or problems or discoveries that have been worked on by someone at the White House that day,” Earnest said. “This unique perspective is sometimes thrilling, sometimes frustrating, but most frequently, it’s humbling.”
Besides occasionally filling in for Carney, Earnest is perhaps best known for narrating the White House’s online video blog, West Wing Week, which recaps the president’s week.
Here’s the latest episode of that series:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
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