Josh Earnest took over as the White House Press Secretary for the Obama administration yesterday after Jay Carney unexpectedly resigned. Like Carney, he will be the one that fields questions from the media regarding all things concerned with the current administration.
While Earnest, 39, certainly isn’t a stranger to Washington D.C., he’s not exactly known outside that circle.
Born in Kansas City, his mom is a psychologist and his dad is the athletic director of a local private school, according to The Washington Post. Growing up, most of his interests were outside of the political arena.
“The only thing I really remember about politics growing up was my parents taking me with them when they went to vote,” he said in an interview with McClatchy DC back in 2012.
Earnest’s main interests included baseball and basketball, and he even attended Kansas City’s Barstow School on a scholarship to play both sports. A friend of his told McClatchy DC that he’s an exceptional shooter.
“He has probably the best baseline jumper you’ve ever seen from the left-hand corner baseline. He could hit that three-pointer every time,” his friend said in 2012.
He’s been with the president since the beginning. He joined Obama’s first campaign as an Iowa communications director in 2008, and then became part of the new White House administration when Obama took office, according to Politico. Before taking over for Carney, Earnest was most recently the principal deputy White House press secretary where he would help Carney prepare for the briefings by keeping track of all the news of the day.
The Post article also states that his first taste of politics came during his senior year at Rice University, where he worked on Lee Brown’s mayoral campaign in 1997, and then became an aide for Michael Bloomberg’s first campaign for mayor in New York City. That led him to being a spokesman at the Democratic National Committee.
According to the Politico article, his wife, whom he married in 2012, is Natalie Wyeth. She was appointed to assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of the Treasury last May. Essentially, she’s the top communications adviser to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Earnest and Wyeth are currently expecting their first child.
When talking about Earnest’s qualifications, the Post said that Obama recalled the new New White House Press Secretary’s earlier work in Iowa.
“In that role, you’d find him spending an extra hour or two helping young staffers make phone calls or knock on doors,” the president recalled. “There was no task that was too small, no detail too unimportant for Josh to attend to.”
[Official White House Photo by Pete Souza via Wikipedia]