Jay Carney to Depart as White House Press Secretary

Jay Carney

May 30 (Bloomberg) -- Jay Carney, President Barack Obama’s spokesman and the face of his communications operation, is leaving the White House.

Obama came to the briefing room today to announce Carney’s departure as press secretary. Josh Earnest, the principal deputy press secretary, will replace Carney, Obama said.

“Jay has become one of my closest friends,” Obama, who surprised reporters with his appearance and announcement, said. “I’m going to miss him a lot.”

Carney, 49, the former Washington bureau chief for Time Magazine, first joined the Obama administration as the communications director for Vice President Joe Biden. In 2011, Carney was selected to replace Robert Gibbs in the job that places him at the front of the press on a near daily basis at White House briefings.

“It’s not always pretty. It could certainly be better,” Carney told reporters today. “ But to be a part of it is an honor and a joy for me. And no matter how tough the briefing is, I walk out of here having been glad to stand here.”

Earnest, 39, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, joined Obama’s presidential campaign in March 2007 as his Iowa communications director. He’s considered well-liked by the White House press corps and is known in part for his narration of a weekly YouTube video on White House events.

Carney said he approached Obama in April about leaving the administration to be able to spend more time with his family. He plans to take time off before deciding on his next career move. Carney said Earnest would take over in mid-June.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Mattingly in Washington at pmattingly@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net Joe Sobczyk