(WASHINGTON) — President Obama on Wednesday praised the qualifications of his pick to lead the U.S. Secret Service, as Julia Pierson was sworn in as the agency’s first female director.
“I have to say that Julia’s reputation within the service is extraordinary,” Obama told reporters. “She’s come up through the ranks, she’s done just about every job there is to do at the Secret Service.”
Obama said Pierson is “breaking the mold” by becoming the first woman to lead the male-dominated agency. “I think that people are all extraordinarily proud of her, and we have the greatest confidence in the wonderful task that lies ahead and great confidence she’s going to do a great job,” he said.
Obama hosted the brief swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office and held what appeared to be a Bible as Vice President Biden administered the oath.
The president later joked, “This person now probably has more control over our lives than anyone else, except for our spouses. I could not be placing our lives in better hands than Julia’s.”
“My agents are excited as heck that you picked her,” Biden interjected.
The White House Wednesday pushed back against claims that Pierson was given the position to signal a culture shift at the agency, citing her vast experience.
“She has extraordinary qualifications, and I think a lot of people who have worked with Julia know how dedicated, how professional, how committed she is….She’s going to thrive in this job,” Obama said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson and MJ Lee, CNN
Eric Bradner, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Ruth Brown and Lis Stewart, Idaho Press-Tribune