White House press secretary Jen Psaki reportedly backtracked on possibly leaving her position after a year, indicating to colleagues that she intends to stay on longer.
The repositioning highlighted once again that you can’t count on many statements coming from the Biden administration to be true.
The West Wing Playbook put to bed the rumor that Psaki would depart after a year: “A source familiar with the internal machinations said that there aren’t any real discussions about Psaki’s successor yet. Psaki has also told colleagues that she is now happy to stay on longer and won’t just walk out the door at her one-year mark, meaning that would-be successors may have to wait much longer than they expected.”
It should be noted that Psaki never solidly confirmed that she would leave after a year anyway. A comment she made to David Axelrod on the podcast, “The Axe Files with David Axelrod,” set the rumor mill into overdrive: “I think it’s going to be time for somebody else to have this job, in a year from now or about a year from now,” she said. Replacement intrigue ensued until the press secretary apparently stomped on it.
This week, one of the supposed contenders for Psaki’s role, Karine Jean-Pierre, held a briefing. The media went into overdrive speculating that she would be the press secretary’s successor. Those hopes were dashed, at least temporarily, since Psaki apparently intends to lengthen her stay.
Jean-Pierre was the first black woman to conduct an official White House press briefing in 30 years. She was also the first gay woman to conduct a briefing and is married to CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.
“It’s a real honor just to be standing here today. I appreciate the historic nature, I really do,” Jean-Pierre told reporters this week in what Psaki dubbed “a big day.”
“But, I believe being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building, is not about one person. It’s about what we do on behalf of the American people,” she declared. “Clearly the president believes that representation matters, and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity. This is not about me this is not about any of us.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 27, 2021
The media and her White House colleagues raved and fawned over the principal deputy press secretary’s performance in front of the cameras and press. Even Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris who reportedly was offended at not being named press secretary, offered a word of praise.
Nothing but the facts. Well done today! https://t.co/xR1RhmtuAV
— SDS (@SymoneSanders46) May 26, 2021
Psaki told Politico’s West Wing Playbook that “It is no surprise that Karine absolutely crushed it today with an expansive base of knowledge and her own graceful style.”
The media salivated over the possibility that Jean-Pierre would step into Psaki’s high heels as a replacement. Principal press secretaries periodically do interviews in place of the actual press secretary if there is a need such as a scheduling conflict. They are also in line to be heavily considered for the spot should a press secretary vacate the position.
Not only are there candidates waiting in the wings to take Psaki’s place, but some are also bitter that she got it in the first place. Symone Sanders, who served as press secretary during Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign and is considered a leading contender for the position, allegedly had her feelings “hurt” that she wasn’t chosen instead of Psaki to be President Joe Biden’s spokesperson.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 10, 2021
Sanders “had made it known, privately and in her book, that she hoped to be the first black woman to hold the job of press secretary,” according to a Washington Post article earlier this month.
But it never transpired the way she had envisioned. Bakari Sellers, who is a civil rights attorney, said that Biden choosing Psaki for press secretary over her friend Sanders, “That one stung her.”
Meanwhile, social media users reacted to the latest apparent about-face in the Biden administration:
I’m sure she’ll circle back to us on that.
— Sistro Mondain 🇺🇸😼 (@SistroMondain) May 27, 2021
— Sn00pster (@sn00pdad) May 27, 2021
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