Press secretary Jay Carney leaving White House

(CNN) – Jay Carney is stepping down as White House press secretary, President Barack Obama announced on Friday.

Obama said Carney told him of his decision in April, and Carney later said he plans to leave the position in mid-June.

The president announced that deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will step into the role.

Obama considers Carney “one of my closest friends.”

- FWBP Digital Partners -

“He’s got good judgment. He has good temperament and he’s got a good heart, and I will miss him a lot,” Obama said.

Carney previously spent 21 years in journalism, including a stint as Washington bureau chief for Time magazine, and Obama noted that he went from one of those asking the questions to the person behind the podium in the White House briefing room.

He is Obama’s second press secretary during the more than five years of his presidency.

Carney took over in 2011 when Robert Gibbs stepped down, and has been Obama’s chief spokesman through budget battles with Congress, the 2012 re-election, the rocky Obamacare rollout, the controversy over the Benghazi terror attack, the Edward Snowden NSA leaks, and now the scandal engulfing the Veterans Affairs Department.

- Advertisement -

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Carney told reporters.

“In midlife you don’t often make a whole new set of friends, and not just friends, but people you would fight by and for under any circumstances and that’s certainly what I have been lucky enough to get over these past five and a half years,” he said.

Carney said that he’s had discussions about what’s next for him but hasn’t made any firm decisions.

He was director of communications for Vice President Joe Biden before ascending to the White House job he has now.

- Advertisement -

Carney is married to journalist Claire Shipman, a senior correspondent for ABC News.

Obama called Carney’s successor Earnest a “straight shooter and a great guy.”

He said their history dates to the Iowa caucuses in 2008, when Earnest served as Obama’s communications director in the Hawkeye State.

“As you know, his name describes his demeanor,” Obama said.