After four years of a White House press office that seemed to be more interested in promoting Donald Trump’s agenda with clouds of lies and obfuscations than focusing on revealing any salient details about the important issues facing his administration, the Biden administration’s approach to daily press briefings has been a welcome breath of fresh air.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has been a delight to watch as she handles the correspondents’ questions with grace and aplomb without the chip on the shoulder that was a given for her predecessors under Trump.
Psaki has become particularly adept at handling the “gotcha” questions lobbed her way by the members of the press closely affiliated with right-wing media like Fox News and its ilk, shaming them with the kind of facts and reason that were in negligible supply in the press briefings of the previous administration.
The well-seasoned Press Secretary had another opportunity to show off her skills today when one reporter tried to get a more definitive answer about Psaki’s offhand comment that President Biden was in touch “fairly regularly” with his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
From the journalist’s tone, it was easy to conclude that he was fishing for some answer that could become fodder for QAnon conspiracy theorists looking for evidence of some grand cabal of Democrats plotting to undermine American values or some other invented motivation for their private conversations.
Psaki smilingly refused to play that game with the correspondent.
“No, that would be violating their friendship,” she replied to the question looking for a more specific number on the frequency of the two friends’ conversations. “The privacy of their friendship, I should say,’ she further explained.
Undeterred by her invocation of privacy concerns, the tenacious journalist continued probing, asking how the frequency of Biden’s calls with Obama compared with that of his calls with other former commanders in chief.
“I would say that he is the president he is most frequent..”, Psaki helpfully replied before interrupting her answer to correct herself, adding “…former president he is most frequently in touch with.”
As any reporter worth their salt would do, her interrogator doggedly tried to pin Psaki down further.
“Are we talking three times a week?”, he asked to laughter from the Press Secretary and the other correspondents. “Three times a month?”
“I’m not going to give a more defined..I’m not gonna define it more other than to say that they engage not just about important moments in our country but about their own families. They have a connection on a personal level, so they discuss a range of issues when they connect,” Psaki clarified.
One has to admire the good humor with which Jen Psaki deals with the often puzzling questions that are sometimes not particularly germane to the pressing issues of the moment.
President Bien made a spectacular choice when he recruited Psaki for the Press Secretary position.
You can watch her work her magic in action in the clip of the exchange attached below.
Jen Psaki was grilled today about how often Biden talks to Obama and what they talk about pic.twitter.com/EZv5nViyU1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 8, 2021
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.