President Barack Obama is tapping a familiar face to fill a key White House role for his last two years in office, hiring State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as his new communications director.
Psaki, a long-time Obama hand who started as the traveling press secretary during his first presidential campaign, is replacing Jen Palmieri, who’s leaving to take a likely role in Hillary Clinton’s widely-expected presidential campaign.
The White House announced the return of Psaki, who also was deputy press secretary and deputy communications director during his first term before leaving to join the Global Strategy Group in 2011, and returned to become Obama’s re-election campaign press secretary, on Thursday.
“Over the past three years, Jen Palmieri has served as a brilliant and effective communications director and trusted advisor. More importantly, she has become a good friend. I will miss her deeply – and I wish her success in the future,” Obama said in a statement announcing the moves.
“I’d say Jen is irreplaceable – if Jen Psaki hadn’t agreed to step in,” he said. “Jen worked on both my campaigns, she’s served in the White House, and she’s traveled the world as an advisor to Secretary Kerry. I fully trust Jen – and I am thrilled she’s agreed to come back to the White House as communications director.”
Psaki will start at the White House on April 1. A White House official said she was “the obvious and first choice” for the job, given her history with Obama.
CNN’s Jim Acosta contributed to this report.