WASHINGTON (ABC News) -- In the White House briefing room on Friday, President Obama announced that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is stepping down.
He will be replaced by deputy press secretary Josh Earnest.
News of Carney's departure comes on the same day that embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki tendered his resignation to the president in the wake of the scandal enveloping his department.
The President said Carney has “become one of my closest friends and is a great press secretary and a great adviser… he has great temperament… and he has a good heart.”
“I will continue to rely on him as a friend and adviser,” Obama continued. “Today the flak jacket is officially passed to a new generation – Mr. Josh Earnest.”
Obama also praised Earnest for his temperament and counsel – a “coach’s son from Kansas City who still roots for the Royals, I guess.”
After the president left the room, reporters asked Carney what’s next for him.
“I might manage my son’s band, which is on the verge of taking off,” he quipped. "But I haven’t made any decisions yet."
And sounding a reflective note, Carney said of the job itself, “It’s not easy every day but I love it ... It’s an important interaction that takes place here.“