WASHINGTON | She embodied the promises of appeasement and then the disappointments of Joe Biden without false note, but without succeeding in restoring the US president’s popularity: Jen Psaki gives up her place as spokesperson on Friday.
• Read also: Biden names Karine Jean-Pierre as spokesperson, first black woman and first lesbian in this position
At 43 years old, he will go to the desk of the famous White House press room for the last time, to lend himself to the formidable exercise of the daily press conference.
Jen Psaki had always said she would step down as spokeswoman for the US executive after just over a year, saying she wanted to spend more time with her two young children.
Starting Monday, his assistant Karine Jean-Pierre will face raised hands from journalists. The first black and openly lesbian woman to take the title of “Press Secretary,” she will have to defend an unpopular Joe Biden, who had to bury his high hopes for reform and political reconciliation.
Jen Psaki assured that they shared the same ambition: “to create a work environment without drama”.
The calm after the scandals
In fact, it has brought calm after the scandals of Donald Trump’s mandate.
This former top swimmer avoided the pitfalls, deploying the elements of language fluently on all sorts of topics, and kicking off sensitive topics with a smile.
Where Donald Trump’s spokespeople insulted reporters, even walked out of the briefing room, Jen Psaki congratulated reporters on a birthday, a wedding, a promotion.
All under the merciless gaze of the public: In an interview, the outgoing spokeswoman said she had received bobby pins sent by viewers upset at seeing her regularly don her red hair square again.
With a degree in sociology and English, she entered politics with the Democratic Party after her studies and worked in communications positions during the Obama administration.
She was a spokesperson for the State Department for two years, which led to her being targeted by the Russian press close to the Kremlin.
Jen Psaki, who since the beginning of the war in Ukraine has multiplied incendiary statements against Vladimir Putin, has probably not forgotten that the Russian president described her in these sexist terms in June 2021: “an educated, young and pretty woman” who “always mix everything up”.
At the White House, her most heated exchanges pitted her against Fox News star reporter Peter Doocy.
It has even become a kind of routine, filling two sides with joy on social networks: one applauding the “Psakibombs”, the arrows fired by the spokesman; the other savoring the attacks of the journalist from the conservative channel.
Which assured that he would regret the departure of Jen Psaki, welcoming an always “legal” interlocutor.
Behind these almost unanimous praise, however, there is a certain tiredness of the journalists who have faced the perfectly stymied communication from the White House.
In a recent article on the site politician, a reporter quoted on condition of anonymity sums it up: “Jen is very good at her job, unfortunately. (…) Therefore, the work is less rewarding, because you are no longer saving democracy against Sean Spicer”, former spokesman for Donald Trump. “When you go after Jen, you look like a son of a bitch.”
The hushed atmosphere of the “James S. Brady Press Conference Room” often seems a thousand miles from an American political world that has never settled down.
Hence the sometimes startling contrast between Jen Psaki’s upbeat message in Washington and the insults hurled by supporters of Donald Trump as Joe Biden’s convoy passed through the highways of rural or working-class America.
The change of spokesperson also coincides with a new tone from the White House, which now frontally attacks Republicans won over to the former president’s ideas, after having long advocated cooperation beyond partisan affiliations.
Jen Psaki has left the mystery hanging over her future so far, but according to the press, she will be joining the progressive-oriented channel MSNBC.