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Joshua Ryan Henry Earnest[1] (born January 22, 1975)[2] is an American public affairs professional and former campaign worker and White House aide who served as the twenty-seventh White House press secretary under President Barack Obama, from 2014 to 2017. He succeeded Jay Carney as Obama's press secretary, in 2014, and was succeeded by President Donald Trump's first Presidential press secretary, Sean Spicer. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for United Airlines.

Josh Earnest
27th White House Press Secretary
In office
June 20, 2014 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
DeputyEric Schultz
Preceded byJay Carney
Succeeded bySean Spicer
White House Deputy Press Secretary
In office
February 11, 2011 – June 20, 2014
PresidentBarack Obama
LeaderJay Carney
Preceded byBill Burton
Succeeded byEric Schultz
Personal details
Joshua Ryan Henry Earnest

(1975-01-22) January 22, 1975 (age 44)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Natalie Wyeth (m. 2012)
EducationRice University (BA)


Early yearsEdit

Earnest was born in Kansas City, Missouri,[3] the son of Donald H. Earnest, an athletic director, and Jeanne M. Earnest, a psychologist.[4] He attended The Barstow School, a private secondary school, on a scholarship. He played baseball and basketball.[5][3]

He graduated from Rice University,[4] in 1997, with a degree in political science and policy studies.[6] Earnest was a member of Sid Richardson College and was the campus-wide beer bike coordinator while at Rice University.[7]


Immediately following college, he worked in the Houston mayoral election, 1997 for Lee P. Brown.[8] Earnest served as a congressional aide to U.S. congressman Robert Marion Berry, from 2002 to 2003, after working on Michael Bloomberg's first campaign for mayor of New York City.[9]

After working on Capitol Hill, Earnest worked for the Democratic National Committee, from 2003 to 2006, under both Terry McAuliffe and Howard Dean.[10] Earnest was communications director on Jim Davis' campaign for governor of Florida, in 2006. He moved to Iowa, in December 2006, to serve as national communications director for then-Iowa governor Tom Vilsack's presidential campaign.[11]

He then joined Barack Obama's presidential campaign in March 2007 as Obama's Iowa communications director.[4] After Obama's Iowa caucus victory, Earnest worked as a top communications aide in several primary contests including South Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania. During the 2008 general election, Earnest served as the campaign's deputy communication director.[12] After Obama was elected president, Earnest moved to Washington, D.C. and served as the communications director for the presidential inaugural committee.[13]

Earnest started at the White House on Obama's first full day in office, January 21, 2009, as deputy press secretary[14] under Robert Gibbs. Later, Earnest was promoted and served as principal deputy White House press secretary and chief of staff to Jay Carney, occasionally filling in during press briefings. Earnest was the voice of West Wing Week, an online video series produced by the White House that chronicled President Barack Obama's activities each week.[15]

On May 30, 2014, Obama announced that Josh Earnest would succeed Carney as the White House press secretary.[16] In an annual survey conducted by the Politico Magazine in April 2015, he was voted the most helpful press official in the Obama administration and the best White House press secretary by nearly 70 journalists.[17]

He delivered his last press briefing of the Obama administration on January 17, 2017.[18]

Earnest has worked as a political analyst and commentator for NBC News and MSNBC since March 2017.[19]

In May 2018, Earnest began serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for United Airlines, based at their headquarters in Chicago.[20][21] He also serves on the Board of Advisors of Let America Vote, an organization founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander that aims to end voter suppression.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

In August 2012, Earnest married Natalie Wyeth in a Christian ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.[1] His wife is a great-granddaughter of illustrator N. C. Wyeth, a granddaughter of engineer Nathaniel C. Wyeth, and a former veteran Treasury Department official.[1] They have a son and a daughter.[23]


  1. ^ a b c Weddings: Earnest/Wyeth,, August 26, 2012; accessed August 12, 2016.
  2. ^ Allen, Mike. "Josh Earnest turns 40". Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Former White House press secretary Josh Earnest catches up with Royals in Baltimore". kansascity. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Mallozzi, Vincent M. (August 26, 2012). "Natalie Wyeth, Joshua Earnest - Weddings". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Topaz, Jonathan (May 30, 2014). "10 things about Josh Earnest". Politico. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Topaz, Jonathan. "10 Things about Josh Earnest". Politico. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Rice alumnus Josh Earnest recalls path to White House". The Rice Thresher. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Roth, Bennett. "Clinton, Obama plan Texas size campaign push". Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  9. ^ Guariglia, Matthew (May 30, 2014). "Josh Earnest: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  10. ^ "DNC Organization-2005-06 Edition". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  11. ^ "Key People-Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA)". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  12. ^ "Key People-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) General Election Edition". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  13. ^ "2009 Presidential Inaugural Committees (PIC, JCCIC and AFIC) Organization". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  14. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (January 21, 2009). "President Obama's First Day". The Caucus. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  15. ^ Epstein, Jennifer. "Meet Josh Earnest". Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  16. ^ Camia, Catalina. "White House spokesman Jay Carney at the same time.resigns". USA Today. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  17. ^ "The Truth About Covering Obama". Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  18. ^ "Obama pops in final White House briefing". January 17, 2017.
  19. ^ NBC News Signs former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, The Hill, March 27, 2017, Retrieved April 11, 2018
  20. ^ [ United Airlines Names Josh Earnest Chief Communications Officer], May 3, 2018, Retrieved May 3, 2018
  21. ^ United Hires Former White House Press Secretary to Be Its Communications Chief, The Points Guy, May 3, 2018, Retrieved May 3, 2018
  22. ^ "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  23. ^ Palleta, Damian. "Treasury Veteran Natalie Wyeth Earnest to Step Down". Retrieved December 5, 2014.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Jay Carney
White House Press Secretary
Succeeded by
Sean Spicer