White House press secretary Jay Carney is resigning, to be replaced by deputy press secretary Joshua Earnest, President Obama announced Friday.
“Jay has become one of my closest friends and is a great press secretary,” Mr. Obama said in a surprise announcement during Mr. Carney’s regular briefing at the White House. “I’m going to miss him a lot.”
The president said Mr. Carney, who took over the job in 2011, will spend most of the summer with his children before deciding what job he will take next.
He said Mr. Carney had asked to leave in April. He will leave in mid-June.
“Jay’s had to wrestle with this decision for quite some time,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Carney said he hasn’t “made any decisions yet” what he’ll do next.
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“It’s been an amazing experience, so fulfilling,” Mr. Carney said.
Mr. Earnest will accompany Mr. Obama on his trip to Europe next week.
Mr. Carney’s departure had been rumored for months. The former Time magazine reporter is the father of two young children and is married to ABC News reporter Claire Shipman. Prior to replacing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, Mr. Carney served as the spokesman for Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
Mr. Earnest, a native of Kansas City, Mo., worked on Michael Bloomberg’s first mayoral campaign in New York City before joining Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign as Iowa communications director.
He currently serves as the principal deputy press secretary to Mr. Carney and is the host of “West Wing Week,” the president’s “video diary” of the week.
While Mr. Carney has encountered increasing friction with journalists over the White House’s restrictions on access to Mr. Obama, the president predicted that reporters will enjoy working with Mr. Earnest.
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“He is of sound judgment and great temperament,” Mr. Obama said. “He is honest and full of integrity, and I’m sure you will at some point get frustrated with him as well. But it’s going to be hard because he’s a straight shooter and — and a great guy.”