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White House Enlists ASL Interpreters For Daily Press Briefings

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily press briefing on Jan. 25.
Drew Angerer
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Getty Images
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily press briefing on Jan. 25.

The White House on Monday announced that its regular press briefings will now include an American Sign Language interpreter. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the move was "part of this administration's accessibility and inclusion efforts."

She noted that Monday's interpreter, identified as Heather, was translating the briefing virtually (a livestream of the interpreter played alongside Psaki during Monday's press conference).

An ASL interpreter is seen on camera alongside White House press secretary Jen Psaki during Monday's press briefing.
/ The White House via YouTube/Screenshot by NPR
/
The White House via YouTube/Screenshot by NPR
An ASL interpreter is seen on camera alongside White House press secretary Jen Psaki during Monday's press briefing.

"The president is committed to building an America that is more inclusive, more just and more accessible for every American," Psaki said.

The administration had earlier garnered praise from accessibility advocates for having the Pledge of Allegiance recited simultaneously in spoken English and ASL on Inauguration Day.

The interpreted briefing can be viewed on the White House's social media accounts.

The previous administration under former President Donald Trump was sued last year over accessibility of its briefings, and a judge ordered in the fall that it had to provide a sign language interpreter for its updates on the coronavirus crisis, as NBC News reported at the time.

Following Psaki's announcement Monday, Twitter users praised the decision, declaring that the move was long overdue.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for . Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.