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Jen Psaki is White House press secretary for Joe Biden administration

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Jen Psaki is White House press secretary for Joe Biden administration


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Here are 5 things to know about the communications veteran.

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has brought back a White House tradition: daily press briefings. 

Press secretary Jen Psaki will become a daily fixture as the face of the Biden administration. The news briefings became rare for Psaki’s predecessor. During President Donald Trump’s final year in office, news briefings wouldn’t happen for weeks at a time. 

Psaki, 42, was press secretary during Biden’s transition and oversaw the team in charge of getting Biden’s Cabinet confirmed after having served in several roles in President Barack Obama’s administration. Biden’s entire senior White House communication team is made up of women. The P in Psaki is silent; her last name is pronounced “Sah-kee,” like the Japanese alcohol sake

The press secretary’s role as top spokesperson for the president is to be a mouthpiece for the administration, providing updates on its actions.

Here’s what to know about Psaki: 

What did she do before? 

Psaki served as President Obama’s communication director in 2015 and 2016. She reorganized the White House’s approach to media to give more attention to nontraditional and online outlets. 

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Before that, she served as a State Department spokesperson from 2013 to 2015, where she ran daily press briefings. 

She was deputy White House communication director during Obama’s first term, when she coordinated and implemented the public response of the government to the financial crisis. She was Obama’s traveling press secretary during his 2008 election and 2012 reelection campaigns. 

Before joining the Obama White House, Psaki was communication director for then-Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., from 2005 to 2006. She served in John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign as deputy press secretary.

Psaki is from Connecticut and graduated from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

‘Truth and transparency’ 

During her first briefing as White House press secretary Wednesday, Psaki pledged to  “bring truth and transparency back to the briefing room.” 

“Rebuilding trust with the American people will be central to our focus in the press office and in the White House every single day,” she said  from the podium in the White House briefing room

Though administration officials and the news media may not always agree, Psaki said, they have the common goal of “sharing accurate information” with the public. 

Psaki said she shares the commitment Biden has for truth and transparency and will share the truth “even when it’s hard to hear.” 

“That’s something that I hope to deliver on in this role,” she said. 

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Jen Psaki, President Joe Biden’s White House press secretary, says the goal is “sharing accurate information with the American people.”

USA TODAY

What did Trump press briefings look like? 

During the Trump administration, there weren’t consistent press briefings. 

Press secretary Sarah Sanders held more frequent briefings at the start of the Trump administration, but those slowly dissolved. She left her role June 30, 2019.  

Sanders’ replacement, Stephanie Grisham, held the role for roughly nine months and never held a press briefing.  

‘America First’ to ‘Americans Together’: Comparison of Biden, Trump inaugural addresses

Press briefings were held on occasion by Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s final press secretary, where she often prioritized conservative media. One of the last briefings held by McEnany was Dec. 15. On Jan. 7, the day after a riot at the Capitol, McEnany issued a brief statement to the media in the briefing room but did not take questions.  

Trump often broke news from his personal Twitter account, bypassing the role of the press secretary. In the final days of his tenure, Trump was suspended from Twitter, as well as other social media sites such as Facebook and Snapchat. 

Contributing: Maureen Groppe, Joey Garrison and Bart Jansen 

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