Psaki won’t confirm she’s leaving White House for MSNBC

Jen Psaki
Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 01, 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday would not confirm reports that she will soon take a TV job at MSNBC, saying she is focused on her job speaking for President Joe Biden.

“I have nothing to confirm about my length of public service or planned service or anything about consideration about next plans,” Psaki said under questioning at her first briefing after COVID-19 forced her into quarantine for a second time in late-March.

“I’m very happy to be standing with all of you here today after it felt like a never-ending time in my basement quarantining away from my family,” she said. “My focus every day continues to be speaking on behalf of the president.”

The Axios news site first reported Friday, citing a source close to the matter, that Psaki is in exclusive talks to join MSNBC after she leaves the White House around May.

Multiple MSNBC representatives did not respond Friday to emailed requests for comment.

Reports earlier this year said Psaki was being heavily courted by both MSNBC and CNN, where she provided on-air commentary before joining then-President-elect Biden’s transition team. The Axios report Friday suggested that Psaki, 43, had narrowed her search.

Under questioning Friday about her future employment and the ethics of negotiating a TV job while still serving as a public face for the administration, Psaki repeatedly stressed that she has complied with all ethical and legal requirements imposed by the Biden administration.

“I have always gone over and above the stringent ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration, and I take that very seriously,” she said. “And as is standard for every employee at the White House, I’ve received rigorous ethics counseling, including as it relates to any future employment.”

White House press secretaries typically do not hold the grueling job for very long, and presidents often are served by multiple chief spokespersons. President Barack Obama had three during his eight years in office, while President Donald Trump had four during his four-year term.

Psaki has been open about saying she would hold the job for at least a year before she started to think about moving on, often citing her young son and daughter as a reason.

In May 2021, she spoke to political strategist and podcast host David Axelrod about why she loved the job of White House press secretary — and why she was unlikely to still be doing it a year later.

“I have little kids and I don’t want to miss time with them. I don’t want to miss moments,” she said.

She expressed similar sentiment Friday.

“At whatever time I leave the White House, I can promise you the first thing I’m going to do is sleep and spend time with my 3- and 6-year-olds, who are my most important audiences of all,” Psaki said.