White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to confirm reports that she is expected to leave the White House next month – and is already in talks with one of the nation’s top liberal cable networks for her next gig.
The normally unflappable spokeswoman appeared flustered at times as she sought to bat away questions about the propriety of negotiating with a network even while steering the White House media operation.
‘I have done — have taken the ethics legal requirements, to the highest, very seriously, in any discussions in any considerations of any future employment, just as any White House official would, and I’ve taken steps beyond that to ensure there’s no conflicts,’ she said.
NBC’s White House correspondent Kristen Welker asked Psaki to explain ‘how is this ethical to have these conversations with media outlets’ while holding down her job.
Well, there are a range of stringent ethical and legal requirements that are imposed on everybody in this administration and many administrations past about any conversations you’re having with future employers. That is true of any industry you’re working in. And I have abided by thos, and tried to take steps to go beyond that as well.’
She said anyone in such a position would have conversations with the White House Office of Legal Counsel, although she stopped short of saying that she herself had done so in this case.
Through all the ethical nuance, she declined to say she was leaving, despite the reports.
‘You can’t get rid of me yet,’ she said – implying that there was no done-deal.
Psaki has been President Joe Biden’s main mouthpiece for more than a year. She stayed off her planned trip to Brussels and Warsaw with the president last week after she revealed she tested positive for COVID-19.
Axios reported Friday that she is ‘in exclusive talks with MSNBC to join the network after she leaves the White House around May.’
That would put her departure beyond the original one year she said she signed on for when she took the high-profile position.
The report includes multiple passages suggesting Psaki was checking ethical boxes during her search – even though she appears poised to go to a top media outlet that commands a seat in the front row of the White House briefing room she presides over.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is in ‘exclusive’ talks with MSNBC about hosting a show, and is expected to leave her post in May
Her show would be on NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock.
Psaki, a former Obama administration official, had an on-air gig at CNN before she joined the Biden White House. She did not have a role in his campaign.
The talks were done ‘in close consultation with the White House counsel’s office,’ according to the report.
Psaki has served since the start of the administration
Filling in: White House communications director Kate Bedingfield briefed reporters this week, after Psaki and her deputy Karine Jean-Pierre each tested positive for COVID-19
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accompanied Biden on his most recent trip
Donald Trump’s final press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, landed a gig on Fox News
A separate report in The Hill also cited the White House lawyers, and mentioned that ‘no contracts have been signed yet.’
Psaki has young children and twice tested positive for the coronavirus during her tenure.
Puck reported in February that she was also being courted by CNN, which launched its own streaming service CNN+ this week.
Communications Director Kate Bedingfield has been briefing reporters this week. Psaki’s deputy, Karine Jean-Pierre, also tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Biden’s trip, where she filled in for Psaki and conducted a single in-flight briefing.
Psaki served as a CNN commentator before Biden took office. The network was reportedly pursuing her for a role on its own streaming platform
Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany jumped to Fox after President Donald Trump left office. She revealed her own ’employment agreement’ in her termination financial disclosure report.
During her tenure Psaki has tried to brief nearly every business day, and sought to turn down the temperature in the briefing room after Trump’s repeated attacks on what he called ‘fake news.’
She sometimes delivered sharp answers when tangling with Fox correspondent Peter Doocy.
MSNBC declined to comment when contacted by DailyMail.com.
Symone Sanders, who served as the top spokeswoman for Vice President Kamala Harris, got her own show on MSNBC. It debuts next month.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk