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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki spoke with David Axelrod in an interview on “The Axe Files” podcast about her role as the Biden administration’s press secretary.
A description of the show said that Psaki “didn’t envision herself returning to the White House after serving as Communications Director under President Obama, but when President Joe Biden asked her to join his team, she agreed.”
CNN reported that Psaki said Biden is “always looking to tell the story, and he is always pushing and testing whether we’re speaking about things in an accessible way.”
Psaki said Biden did a mini press conference earlier this week and claimed that Biden takes questions nearly every day he is out with the press, saying, “that is not something we recommend.”
“In fact, a lot of times we say ‘Don’t take questions,’ you know, but he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the President of the United States,” she explained. “We’re never going to satisfy the White House press corps and their desires for access. And I think there have been mistakes made in the past of trying to do that.”
“We’re often asked, ‘Why doesn’t he go to the border?’ Important issue. We’re focused on it,” she explained. “What percentage of the public is focused on the border? A much smaller percentage than who’s focused on the pandemic and the economy.”
Psaki also said, “We’re kind of still in recovery from the ‘Game of Thrones’ period of our history here that, you know, some of what I think the job is in this moment — and this won’t always be and certainly hasn’t been historically — is kind of reaffirming and restating, like, what the role of government is, right? And what the role of agencies are, and what the role of policy processes are and how a bill becomes a law.”
According to CNN, Psaki said the 2021 news cycle is “so fast that even what’s in the print newspaper is rarely going to be what we’re going to talk about at the briefing that day.”
Psaki commented on a tense situation earlier in the year when she appeared to mock a branch of the U.S Military when she made light of a question about the future of the Space Force.
The Daily Wire reported at the time:
Psaki was asked about what Democrat President Joe Biden’s plans were regarding the Space Force, including whether he wanted to keep the new military branch.
“Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today,” Psaki responded. “It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact. I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if we have any update on that.”
Psaki’s comments are an apparent reference to previous questions from reporters about whether the Biden administration would change the colors on Air Force One.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, demanded that Psaki apologized for the remark.
“It’s concerning to see the Biden administration’s press secretary blatantly diminish an entire branch of our military as the punchline of a joke, which I’m sure China would find funny,” Rogers said. “The Space Force was passed with near unanimous support in Congress, the same type of ‘unity’ President Biden is supposedly working towards. Jen Psaki needs to immediately apologize to the men and women of the Space Force for this disgraceful comment.”
During the Axelrod interview, Psaki said, “There are certainly days where I wish I hadn’t said something that I had said … somebody asked me about the Space Force … and my intention was never to begrudge the men and women serving in the Space Force. I was a week in and I had not spent time with the Space Force yet, but that was a good lesson. … To their credit, the head of the Space Force wrote me a note … I will always be an advocate for the Space Force. But it’s a lesson.”
CNN reported that Psaki said she discussed a roughly one-year term in her position with the Biden transition team. “I think it’s going to be time for somebody else to have this job, in a year from now or about a year from now,” she said.
She also noted that she makes sure to create space in her schedule to spend time with her family.