On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was interviewed about her job on a podcast called Save America. The episode was released today.
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The most important lesson she’s learned after giving briefings for 15 months is that ‘you’re not at a dinner party and you’re not at a bar,’ she said, so even if the questions seem repetitious, she had to respond in a respectful way, to avoid a reporter saying anything that would ‘make you seem like you’re Satan reincarnated.’
Psaki has been in talks to join MSNBC once she leaves her official role at the White House, according to reports earlier this month.
NBC News’ Kristen Welker questioned whether Psaki’s discussions of future job prospects with employers like MSNBC were ethical while she was press secretary.
Psaki asserted that she was handling the situation ethically.
‘Well, there are a range of stringent ethical and legal requirements that are imposed on everybody in this administration and many administrations past about any conversations you’re having with future employers,’ Psaki told reporters earlier this month. ‘That is true of any industry you’re working in. And I have abided by those, and tried to take steps to go beyond that as well.’
According to Psaki, despite the fact that Biden told reporters Thursday morning that, ‘yeah,’ he was up for the trip, he won’t go to Ukraine.
‘No, no,’ she said. ‘He is ready, he’s ready for anything, the man likes a fast car, some aviators, he’s ready to go to Ukraine.’
‘We are not sending the president to Ukraine,’ Psaki declared.
She cited the recent trip of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the conflict-ridden nation.
‘What I will tell you is that what Boris Johnson did is he took, I believe, an eight-hour train through a war zone to get to the middle of Ukraine,’ she replied. ‘So, no that is not in the plans for the president of the United States.’
‘We should all maybe be relieved about that,’ she continued. ‘He’s got a few other things to do.’
Some of her most viral exchanges have been with the White House correspondent for Fox News Channel, Peter Doocy.
During the taping, Psaki was asked if Doocy really was a ‘stupid son of a b***h’ or if he was just playing one for TV.
This question was inspired by Biden’s hot mic call of the Fox News correspondent in January as a ‘stupid son of a b***h’.
‘He works for a network that provides people with questions that, nothing personal to any individual including Peter Doocy, but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b***h,’ Psaki answered.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki agrees Fox News's Peter Doocy sounds like "a stupid son of a b****."
The question came up during a recording of Pod Save America, harkening back to when President Joe Biden famously called Doocy that.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 15, 2022
Psaki did not specify a date by which she intends to step down, as far as her own future is concerned.
‘I will not be there forever. That is what I can confer,’ she explained.
‘I am not trying to be talking point-y in saying this is the best job I’ve ever had. It’s amazing in so many ways,’ she added.
A former White House correspondent at Fox News Channel, John Roberts, chimed in on Twitter, writing: ‘Note to Press Sec: Peter Doocy makes the decisions on what topics he wants to quiz you on, and develops the questions himself. His philosophy is a basic tenet of journalism. Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.’
‘If that makes all of us “stupid s.o.b.s”, so be it,’ Roberts continued.
Note to @PressSec . @pdoocy makes the decisions on what topics he wants to quiz you on, and develops the questions himself.
His philosophy is a basic tenet of journalism. Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. If that makes all of us "stupid s.o.b.s", so be it.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) April 15, 2022
‘Can I tell a nice Peter Doocy story?’ Psaki asked after she finished the evaluation.
She told how after Biden insulted Doocy, he called him to say he was sorry.
‘So he went on TV that night and I actually watched Sean Hannity to see what he said. My mind was like really bending and hurting,’ Psaki recalled. ‘If you can imagine, it was like flames and it was like “Crime! Crime! Crime!” and Kamala – the vice president is like walking through the flames and crime. I don’t even know what was happening.’
‘But Sean Hannity asked him about, you know, what the president had said and what he said back. And he could have been like, “He’s a son of a b***h” or “I’m standing up for …” whatever, he would have said anything. And instead, he said, you know he called me, we had a really nice conversation, I’m just asking my questions, he’s doing his job,’ Psaki continued.
‘So I will say, that was a moment of grace, you don’t have to like everything Peter Doocy says or does, but that was certainly a moment of grace by Peter Doocy.’
Sean Hannity asked Doocy about the phone call that night. At first, Doocy wasn’t aware of Biden’s insult.
‘My reaction was delayed because as you can see the Biden staff were ushering us out. They were telling us thank you, time to go. It wasn’t until we went to the basement and then outside and then back to the press room that somebody said “Hey, did you hear with the president said about you?” I said, “No, what did he say?” “He called you a stupid SOB,”‘ Doocy noted. ‘And I said “I did not hear that,” and I opened up my phone and… he did!’
Peter Doocy was on Hannity tonight with an update on Biden calling him a ‘Stupid Son of a Bi&ch”. Doocy said Joe called him up an hour later, and said “It’s nothing personal PAL”. Doocy told him he will continue to ask questions other reporters won’t. pic.twitter.com/N4hZrKwCLV
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) January 25, 2022
The president was on the other end of the call when Doocy’s cell phone rang an hour later.
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‘After years of clips of the president and I kind of mixing it up on the campaign trail and during the transition here at The White House, within about an hour of that exchange, he called my cell phone and he just said “It is nothing personal, pal.”
‘And we went back and forth and we were talking about moving forward and I made sure to tell him that I’m always going to try to ask something different than what everybody else is asking.
‘And he said, “You’ve got to.”
‘And that is the quote from the president, so I will keep doing it,’ he said to Hannity.