White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday did not confirm reports that she would soon be taking a television job at MSNBC and said she was focusing on her job to speak for President Joe Biden.
“I don’t have to confirm anything about my length of public service or my scheduled service or anything about considering next plans,” Psaki said when asked at her first briefing after COVID-19 forced her into quarantine for a second time in late March.
“I’m so excited to stand here with all of you today after what has felt like endless time in my basement quarantining from my family,” she said. “My focus remains on speaking on behalf of the President every day.”
News site Axios first reported on Friday, citing a source close to the matter, that Psaki is in exclusive talks to join MSNBC after leaving the White House around May.
Several MSNBC representatives did not respond to emailed requests for comment on Friday.
Reports earlier this year said Psaki was heavily courted by both MSNBC and CNN, where she provided on-air commentary before joining then-President Biden’s transition team. Friday’s Axios report indicated that Psaki, 43, had narrowed her search.
When she questioned Friday about her future employment and the ethics of negotiating a television job while continuing to serve as the public face for the government, Psaki repeatedly stressed that she had met all of the Biden administration’s ethical and legal requirements.
“I’ve always gone above and beyond the strict ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration, and I take that very seriously,” she said. “And as is customary for any White House staffer, I received rigorous ethics advice, including in relation to future employment.”
White House press secretaries typically don’t last very long in their grueling job, and presidents are often served by multiple key spokespeople. President Barack Obama had three during his eight-year tenure, while President Donald Trump had four during his four-year tenure.
Psaki openly said she would keep the job for at least a year before she started thinking about moving on, often citing her young son and daughter as the 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 a year later she probably wouldn’t be doing it.
“I have small children and would not want to miss the time with them. I don’t want to miss any moments,” she said.
She expressed a similar sentiment on Friday.
“Whenever I leave the White House, I can promise you that the first thing I will do is sleep and spend time with my 3-year-olds and 6-year-olds, who are my most important audience of all,” Psaki said.
Sagar Meghani, Associated Press Radio correspondent, and Rhonda Shafner, AP New York-based news researcher, contributed to this report.