White House press secretary Jen Psaki is in exclusive discussions to join MSNBC following her departure from the Biden administration.
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A number of broadcast networks have shown interest in adding Psaki to their talent rosters as she prepares to leave the White House later this year.
Biden’s star press secretary previously dismissed rumors that she is “looking for a job at CNN or MSNBC.” Axios reports that a deal has now been reached with a network.
As the outlet reports, Psaki will host a show for MSNBC on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock, after leaving the White House towards the end of May.
Jen Psaki has chosen to stop lying for the White House and start a new job lying for MSNBC.
— Catturd ™ (@catturd2) April 1, 2022
According to the Washington Examiner, a White House official declined to comment on Psaki’s anticipated departure or her plans for the future, saying, “Jen is here and working hard every day on behalf of the President to get you the answers to the questions that you have, and that’s where her focus is.”
According to the report, she has spoken about her departure with senior officials but not with the White House press team.
Psaki and her deputy Karine Jean-Pierre have recently tested positive for COVID-19, which gave a number of employees a chance to audition for the job.
Chris Meagher, the Deputy Press Secretary, stepped up to the podium on March 22 shortly after it was announced that Psaki would be unavailable.
He was followed a couple days later by deputy press secretary Andrew Bates. Kate Bedingfield was on hand for two days in a row at the microphone on Tuesday and Wednesday.
If they don’t name the show Circle Back with Jen Psaki, someone should be fired https://t.co/pqMhlo6WPl
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 1, 2022
“It’s been a bit of a tryout for all of them, or at the very least the opportunity to have a little face time,” an administration official said about White House podium talent.
Jean-Pierre is widely viewed as the most likely replacement for Psaki, who has said she will only serve as press secretary for about one year.
The appointment of a black woman or black press secretary to that high-profile post has never happened before.
BREAKING: Jen Psaki is leaving the White House to work for MSNBC.
So basically, she will still be working for Joe Biden.
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) April 1, 2022
“This administration really cares about showing diversity and representation, so breaking barriers is a big thing,” a government official said.
In addition, Jean-Pierre has become friendly with Biden since she toured with him during the 2020 campaign, so she is a familiar face to him.
“It has felt like Karine has been groomed for this and it would backfire if she didn’t get it,” according to the source.
A second source said, “It feels like the intention is for it to be Karine.”
While that is the case, it does not mean a different pick could not be made, and the last week has provided a number of people with a chance to show their skills.
It is very rare for a communications director like Bedingfield to fill in at the podium, but some have described her as a potential successor to Psaki.
A prominent media spokesperson for Biden during his presidential campaign, Bedingfield has previously spoken with reporters at the White House. In one of the Beltway’s most pressure-filled positions, she’s highly competent and appears at ease behind the podium.
According to a Democratic strategist close to the White House, Bedingfield is the front-runner to replace Psaki, “because she’s a longtime Biden person.”
Meanwhile, a Biden administration official said the president probably doesn’t put too much emphasis on a press secretary’s roots with Biden.
“I don’t think [the president] cares about that for the podium,” the official stated.
“It’s one thing to be in the room for policymaking, but I do think he’s willing to step outside the box” for the face of the White House, the official continued, pointing out that Psaki herself didn’t have roots with Biden.
Neither did his press advisers Jay Carney or Shailagh Murray when he was vice president. The two were reporters before switching to the administration.
Additionally, other candidates, including State Department spokesman Ned Price and Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, are also expected to be considered for the role.
Psaki hinted last year that she would likely only be in the role for about a year, a time when other diverse candidates should be gearing up for the job.
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As the Russian invasion of Ukraine raged, Psaki’s positive COVID test came at a tough time for the White House.
It was a messaging crisis for the Biden team after Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” at the end of a speech in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday. The White House had to walk back the remarks because they suggested a change in U.S. policy.
During a question-and-answer session on Monday, the 79-year-old president referred to a typed cue card for hints regarding his remarks that many regarded as advocating for regime change.
‘It’s more an aspiration than anything. He shouldn’t be in power. There’s no — I mean, people like this shouldn’t be ruling countries, but they do. The fact is they do, but it doesn’t mean I can’t express my outrage about it,’ he said, holding his cheat sheet firmly in one hand.