May 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

TV-bound Psaki bids Biden and press corps farewell at last briefing

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during her last daily briefing on May 13. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki teared up during her last briefing on Friday, thanking President Biden for the opportunity to serve in the role. "I promised myself I wasn't going to get emotional," she said.

Driving the news: Psaki said her first conversation with Biden and first lady Jill Biden was after the presidential election in November 2020.

  • "I was very nervous when I went to see them in Delaware. And really what we talked about for the majority of our conversation was the importance of returning integrity, respect and civility to the White House," she said.
  • "On my best days and as I look back, I hope I followed the example of integrity and grace that they have set for all of us and do set for all of us every day. I'm incredibly grateful to them."

Other highlights from Psaki's last briefing:

  • Psaki also thanked "a Biden family that is extended and expanded far beyond the Biden-named family," including administration officials.
  • She also thanked the reporters in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room for their "pivotal role."
  • "At times we have disagreed. That is democracy in action. That is it working. Without accountability, without debate, government is not as strong," she said.
  • "Thank you for what you do, thank you for making me better. And most importantly, thank you for the work every day you do to make this country stronger."

Psaki also gave advice to incoming press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who has served as the White House principal deputy press secretary.

  • "The more you know about policy issues and the more you can go in depth ... the better able you will be to answer tough questions ... and hopefully provide information to the public," she said.
  • "The last thing I would say is that it can be repetitive in here from time to time," Psaki said.
  • "In the age of social media, always provide the context and all the details because you never want to be a meme with one line."

The big picture: Psaki held 224 press briefings throughout her approximately 16-month tenure, CNN reports.

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