Apr 2, 2022 - Economy

TV gigs are the next stop for most White House press secretaries

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during the daily press briefing in the James Brady Room at the White House on March 21, 2022.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during a daily press briefing on March 21. Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Jen Psaki will join a long list of former press secretaries turned media contributors if she leaves the White House for MSNBC, which is expected this spring.

The big picture: Most White House press secretaries over the last two decades landed a TV gig after their time in the White House.

Three of former President Trump's press secretaries are regular media contributors.

  • Kayleigh McEnany and Sarah Sanders both joined Fox News after their White House stints.
  • Sean Spicer has his own show on Newsmax TV.
  • Stephanie Grisham is the exception. She became former first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff after her stint as press secretary.

All three of former President Obama's press secretaries landed cable news gigs after the White House.

  • Josh Earnest joined NBC News and MSNBC as a political analyst and Jay Carney became a CNN contributor.
  • Robert Gibbs, who joined MSNBC and NBC News as a political contributor, made his debut on the night of Obama's State of the Union in 2013.

Former President George W. Bush press secretaries Dana Perino and Ari Fleischer are both at Fox News — Perino as a co-anchor and Fleischer a contributor.

  • Tony Snow briefly joined CNN as a political contributor in April 2008 before he passed away in July of the same year.
  • Scott McClellan became vice president for university affairs at Seattle University.

Catch up quick: Psaki is in exclusive talks with MSNBC to join the network after she leaves the White House around May, Axios' Sara Fischer reported on Friday.

  • Psaki has not yet formally told the White House press team about her departure.

The bottom line: Political spokespeople are often targets for cable networks, whose audiences tend to be political junkies, Fischer notes.

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