Psaki to leave White House for MSNBC
White House press secretary Jen Psaki will leave her job for MSNBC this spring, two sources familiar with the deal told The Hill.
Psaki’s upcoming departure was first reported by Axios on Friday, with the sources confirming it to The Hill. Psaki will leave the White House for the network around May, according to Axios.
The news follows speculation over whether the press secretary was looking for a job at MSNBC or CNN and while Psaki has been out of the briefing room this week with COVID-19.
Deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has also been out with COVID-19. White House communications director Kate Bedingfield has held most of the briefings, which was seen as an opportunity to effectively audition for the post.
She declined to confirm on Friday if she is leaving the White House to work for MSNBC.
“You can’t get rid of me yet…I have nothing to confirm about my length of public service, or planned service,” she said, adding that she’s “very happy” to return to the podium after her stint with COVID-19.
“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, and I hope that I meet my own bar of meeting everyone with fairness and being equitable,” she added.
She was also asked if its ethical to continue in her job while negotiating with a media outlet, to which she said, “I have always gone over and above the stringent ethical requirements of the Biden administration.”
Psaki said she has received ethic counseling and taking steps to recuse herself from decisions “as appropriate.”
Psaki again said she didn’t have anything to announce about future plans when MSNBC’s Kristen Welker asked, given the reports, how she can continue to be an effective briefer if she does have plans to join a media outlet.
“At whatever time I leave the White House, I can promise you the first thing I’m going to do is sleep and spend time with my three and six-year-old who are my most important audiences of all,” Psaki said.
Psaki has worked with the White House counsel’s office about her departure and no contracts have been signed yet, Axios reported. Additionally, she has talked to senior officials about the move but has not formally announced it to the press team.
She was asked at a briefing last month if she could confirm whether she was looking for a new job, but she indicated at the time that she was not ready to leave the podium yet.
“I have more than enough on my plate here. So you can’t get rid of me quite yet. Sorry, Peter, for you on that,” she replied to Fox News’s Peter Doocy.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Psaki wouldn’t be the first official to leave the White House for MSNBC. Symone Sanders, former spokesperson for Vice President Harris, was hired by MSNBC in January as a host for a new weekend program.
Amie Parnes and Dominick Mastrangelo contributed reporting. Updated at 3:36 p.m.