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Jen Psaki leaving the White House for MSNBC this spring

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki arrives at a White House daily press briefing at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on March 21.
Alex Wong
/
Getty Images
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki arrives at a White House daily press briefing at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on March 21.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki will leave her job this spring and join MSNBC as a pundit and host of her own show on the streaming service Peacock, a person with direct knowledge has confirmed to NPR. Axios first reported the news on Friday.

The White House had no announcement to make about Psaki's future.

"We don't have anything to confirm about Jen's length of planned service or any consideration about future plans," a White House official said. "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."

In her role at the helm of the White House press briefings, Psaki is among the Biden administration's most visible staffers and its first line of defense against questions from the press. She has been known for subduing hostile questions in the briefing room while returning a measure of respect and decorum to relations with the press.

Her consistent presence at the podium was made more notable in the wake of the Trump administration, which had all but halted regular press briefings by the end of former President Donald Trump's term.

Psaki was originally expected to remain in the job for one year, but has remained past that mark. She has been absent from the podium this week after testing positive for the coronavirus for a second time.

This is not her first round serving in a Democratic administration. Psaki served in the Obama administration as White House communications director and as State Department spokesperson.

Psaki will follow Symone Sanders, a former senior spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris, to MSNBC. Sanders departed the White House in January.

It is not unusual for White House communications staff to parlay their White House jobs into lucrative television contracts. Psaki herself worked for CNN as an analyst during the Trump years.

George Stephanopoulos, White House communications director under Bill Clinton, hosts ABC's Good Morning America and This Week. Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary under Donald Trump, joined Fox News last year, where former George W. Bush press secretary Dana Perino is an anchor.

Possible replacements for Psaki at the podium include her deputy, Karine Jean-Pierre, and White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, both of whom have briefed the press in Psaki's absence. There have also been rumors suggesting Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby as a replacement.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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