White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said last summer she would leave the administration sometime this year, is reportedly moving on to a position at MSNBC.
Sources say she has not signed a contract with the network, but negotiations are nearly finished. She was also courted by CNN, where she worked as a commentator during the Trump administration, before deciding to host a show on the Peacock streaming platform.
Multiple reports say she is in talks with the cable network and consulting with the White House counsel’s office about leaving her position. Psaki is expected to stay on as press secretary until the White House Correspondents Association dinner on April 30, which will be the first held since 2019 due to the pandemic.
Unless there’s another Jen Psaki speaking from the White House podium, this is the same person who declared in February that “cable news is dying.” In an interview on actor Rob Lowe’s podcast, Psaki said that not only are ratings dwindling, but readership of national newspapers is also in sharp decline.
At the afternoon press briefing on Friday, several reporters questioned Psaki on the ethics of being President Biden’s spokesperson while in the process of working out a contract with a cable news company. One reporter, Ed O’Keefe of CBS News, asked if it is “ethical for you to continue conducting this job while negotiating with the media?”
Psaki replied that she is complying with all ethics requirements and has “always gone over and above” the administration’s requirements for employees. Psaki has served as Biden’s press secretary since he took office, and before working as a commentator for CNN she was a White House communications director and State Department spokesperson in the Obama administration.
Deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and communications director Kate Bedingfield are considered likely successors.
Psaki joining cable news after an administration gig is nothing new, presidential mouthpieces have been in that lucrative pipeline for years. What is interesting to observe is if she and MSNBC will receive the same level of vitriol that former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Fox News endured when that merger happened. The rain of criticism that Fox was merely Trump’s puppet network. Don’t hold your breath.