Fox News’ “Media Buzz” host Howard Kurtz sat down with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and asked her about Democratic messaging, Roe v. Wade, media access to President Biden, and more.
Kurtz asked Psaki if Biden was surrendering a key part of the bully pulpit by very rarely holding news conferences or sitting down with journalists to do interviews. Psaki said that Biden talks to the American people every day, sometimes more, but Kurtz emphasized he was often not talking to journalists.
“But I think our objective, given our role and our focus here, is speaking to the public and certainly engaging in and valuing a free press,” she said.
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 10: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on December 10, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Later in the interview Psaki was asked about Twitter and whether she has ever suggested the president make his account more exciting in an effort to show more of Biden’s personality.
Kurtz said that Biden’s tweets “rarely make news.”
She responded by saying Biden’s social media following was “enormous” and emphasized that Biden’s tweets “reach the public.”
“They don’t always have to make news. Sometimes it’s about providing accuracy and information,” she said.
Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon Jr. wrote a Tuesday piece, "Bidenism is failing. The question is how badly," which put a harsh spotlight on a dismal approval rating of 42 percent. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE TO REPLAE JEN PSAKI AS WHTIE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
Psaki reflected on her time as press secretary as her last day, May 13, quickly approaches. She told Kurtz that she was experiencing a lot of different emotions about leaving the White House.
“I don’t think anybody could do this job as White House press secretary if they didn’t value the role of the press and the media. And I do. Even on days where we disagree, on days we debate,” she said.
Psaki is set to leave the White House on May 13 to join MSNBC. Psaki will be replaced by deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Following the announcement that she would be joining MSNBC, she was met with criticism over potential ethical concerns and conflicts of interest. Psaki told Kurtz that the criticism did bother her.
“I’m human,” she said.
“But what I know is what I try to do every day and I hold myself to a very high ethical standard. I took steps and have taken steps as I’ve had any discussions with any future employer that go over and above any requirements by government recusing myself from any discussions as well,” Psaki said in response to a question about the criticism. She added she was proud that she’s treated all the reporters in the briefing room “the same from the beginning.”
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
((AP Photo/Andrew Harnik))
“This is the greatest job I’ve ever had. Maybe the greatest job I ever have,” Psaki said, noting that she learned something new every day. She said she was leaving her position because of her family, adding that she doesn’t want to miss her children’s soccer practices or ballet recitals.
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The soon-to-be former White House press secretary also reaffirmed comments she made earlier in the week in the beginning of the interview, saying she believed that Roe v. Wade was not a partisan political issue and pointed to polling that found two-thirds of Americans believe Roe should remain in place.
“Two-thirds of the public means that is the vast majority of the public who want a woman to be able to make choices with her doctor about her own healthcare. Two-thirds of the public doesn’t agree on a lot,” she said.
Psaki was asked about protesters gathering outside the houses of several Supreme Court justices during a press briefing last week, saying that the president’s view was “that there’s a lot of passion, a lot of fear, a lot of sadness from many, many people across this country about what they saw in that leaked document.”
“We obviously want peoples’ privacy to be respected. We want people to protest peacefully if they want to protest. That is certainly what the president’s view would be,” she said.
Former attorney general Bill Barr said he was “appalled” that Psaki and the White House didn’t come out and condemn the protests.
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Psaki will reportedly host a show on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, and appear as a commentator on MSNBC. Her deal with the network is reportedly similar to the one Symone Sanders has with network. Sanders, a former senior advisor and chief spokesperson to Vice President Kamala Harris, is the host of her own show “Symone,” which aired its first episode on Saturday.
Hanna Panreck is an associate editor at Fox News.