US President Joe Biden’s new press secretary Jen Psaki has discovered new-found fame as she greeted media on her first day on the job, pledging to share “accurate information” with America and the world.
Publications and insiders across the globe, including Donald’s Trump’s niece, praised the 42-year-old’s “impressive” debut address to the media, where she pledged to restore “truth” and “transparency” to the White House briefing room.
It was the first White House media briefing since December 15. You can see it in full here.
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Wearing not one, but two masks, but taking them off to speak to reporters, Psaki’s introduction was an olive branch to waiting media, with Vox praising: “No insults or meltdowns”.
Though a relatively uneventful briefing, there were some juicy bits, including insight into Mr Trump’s letter to Mr Biden, in which she called “both generous and gracious”.
Ms Psaki took numerous questions as she highlighted Mr Biden’s first day in office, who wasted no time enacting his promises to the people.
He signed 15 executive orders, including rejoining the World Health Organisation, implementing a national mask mandate on federal property and rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.
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He ended some of Donald Trump’s most controversial policies, including the travel ban on majority Muslim countries and halting construction of the US Mexico border wall.
He said there was no time to start like today, and in doing so, will fill at least some of those promises.
He also swore in 1000 federal appointees and saw his first cabinet picks sworn in.
As the new US President took to the huge task before him, so did Ms Psaki, an unenviable role of attempting to forge a new road ahead without the cries of “fake news”.
She promised: “I will never lie to you” and committed to “sharing information even when it is hard to hear”.
Ms Psaki told the media just seven hours after the 46th President was sworn into office that he has asked her to work to rebuild the trust of the American people as part of an all-female senior communications team.
“He asked me to ensure we’re communicating about the policies across the Biden Harris administration and the work his team is doing every single day on behalf of all American people,” she said.
“There will be times where we see things differently in this room … that’s OK. That’s part of our democracy, and rebuilding trust with the American people will be central to our focus in the press office and in the White House every single day.”
WHO IS JEN PSAKI?
Ms Psaki, 42, was born in Stamford, Connecticut and is married to Gregory Matthew Mecher.
The couple have two children.
She attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and graduated with a double first in English and sociology.
She previously served as the spokesperson for the United States Department of State and held various senior press and communications roles in the Obama White House.
Her salary as press secretary is thought to be about (USD) $183,000 per year.
NEW TONE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE
Ms Psaki’s pledge to hold daily briefings has also been praised by Washington journalists who had grown accustomed to the erratic schedule and response from the Trump administration over the past four years.
“While Psaki’s remarks were aimed at reporters in the briefing room, her audience was just as much the American people in an effort to reinforce that the Biden administration was turning a page from the recent past of obfuscation and outright lies,” wrote Politico’s Matthew Choi.
“Psaki’s debut appearance was a diametric contrast to the first news briefing of the Trump presidency, where then-press secretary Sean Spicer insisted that Trump’s inauguration crowd was the largest in US history — a claim that was quickly proved false with aerial photos of the event.”
She said regular briefings with health professionals will also return as the US continues to suffer through the coronavirus pandemic. Those briefings dried up under President Trump as he “lost interest in the fight against the pandemic”, according to the Times.
“She was asked questions and answered them. She didn’t attack the press. She pledged daily briefings. All in all, it was a relatively normal process,” wrote the Huffington Post’s Josephine Harvey.
Though a successful briefing, Ms Psaki’s appearance was not her first in the White House; she worked for President Barack Obama’s press team prior to her role with President Biden, and was also a spokesperson for the State Department.
She has been married to husband Gregory Mecher for more than a decade and they have two children together.
“Biden’s first day, and Psaki’s first day, sent a message that functional government is back,” wrote CNN’s Brian Stelter.