President Joe Biden announced a pair of hiring moves Thursday as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki heads for the exit on May 13.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will step into Psaki’s role as press secretary and Anita Dunn, an adviser from the campaign who also co-chaired the transition team, will return to the White House as senior adviser and assistant to the president. Dunn, who was a White House senior adviser in the early days of the administration through August, also led strategy for disgraced ex-Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
“Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room,” Biden said in a statement. “I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”
Psaki will be taking a job at MSNBC following her White House departure. That leaves the White House comms shop to Jean-Pierre and Dunn.
According to BuzzFeed in 2017, Dunn was not paid for her work on behalf of Weinstein, who was convicted of rape in 2020, but helped the celebrity producer navigate the public relations crisis from the sex scandals. Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison at 67 years old after six women testified against him.
In the first year of the Obama administration, where Dunn also served as White House communications director with an open vengeance for Fox News, the Wall Street Journal reported on Dunn’s admiration for former Chinese dictator Mao Tse Tung as a favorite political philosopher.