The White House press corps confronted Jen Psaki over a report Friday that she is in exclusive negotiations to join MSNBC as a host on the network.
When asked if the report is accurate by CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe, Psaki said, “I have nothing to confirm about my length of public service or planned service or planned service or anything about consideration about next plans. I’m very happy to be standing with you here today after it felt like a never-ending endless time in my basement quarantining away from my family.”
“Believe it or not I missed you all a lot. My focus every day continues to be speaking on behalf of the president, answering your questions as tough as they may be at many times, as difficult as they may be to answer at many times. I hope that I meet my own bar of treating everybody with fairness and being equitable,” Psaki answered, although she would not be let off the hook so easily.
“Just because this has been raised by our colleagues, by people who are observing this process, is it ethical for you to continue to be conducting this job while negotiating with a media outlet?” pushed the reporter, in a follow-up question.
Psaki responded at length, laying out the steps she has taken to meet ethical requirements:
I have always gone over and above the stringent ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration and I take that very seriously. As a standard for every employee at the White House, I have received rigorous ethics counseling, including, as it relates to any future employment. I complied with all requirements and gone beyond. I’ve taken steps to recuse myself from decisions as appropriate.
I hope that all of you, I have been working with all of you for some time, would judge me for my record and how I treat you and I try to answer questions from everybody across the board. I know everybody in the back of the room may not be pleased with me but I try my best and I will certainly continue to do that.
“Jen, given the reports that have been confirmed by multiple media outlets, how can you continue to be an effective briefer if you do in fact have plans to join a media outlet?” asked Kristen Welker with NBC News.