Jay Carney, the reporter who became White House press secretary for the Obama administration, has resigned from his post after three-plus years on the job. Josh Earnest will take up the position. He’s a 39-year-old with strong ties to President Obama, having worked with him since 2008 when he was communications director in Iowa for the campaign.
The surprise announcement was made yesterday when the President jumped behind Carney’s podium to break the news. He repeatedly called Carney a “friend” and said Carney’s resignation first came up in April. During his remarks, the President cited Carney’s desire to spend more time with family, including more visits to his daughter’s softball games. Carney, 49, has two children and his wife, Claire Shipman, is a reporter and part-time contributor to ABC News.
“He’s got good judgement, he has good temperament and he’s got a good heart,” said President Obama. “And I’m going to miss him a lot. I will continue to rely on him as a friend, an adviser after he leaves to spend as much of his summer as he can with his kids before he decides what’s next for him.”
Sources tell The New York Times that Carney is also stepping down for financial reasons; he’d like to move back into the private sector to earn more money.
Carney is credited with making few missteps during his tenure, for going toe-to-toe with members of the press and for keeping his temper in line. Prior to joining the White House, Carney was a Time magazine reporter for 21 years.
The same temperament is attributed to Earnest. ”His name describes his demeanor: earnest,” said President Obama during the announcement. Many speculated that he would be next in line for the press secretary role.
Coming into the job, Earnest will continue to have to deal with reporters and the briefings, of course. But he’s also faced with the White House’s practice of posting its own news — pictures, tweets and video — rather than going through the media, restricting access in the minds of some reporters at a time when “transparency” is a buzzword.
ABC News’ Jake Tapper remarked that the administration seems to now favor choosing a press secretary who isn’t part of the President’s “inner circle” in order to avoid any accidental news leaks.
The new press secretary’s Twitter handle is in the image above.