No wonder she's so happy! Jen Psaki beams in her last briefing and is now expected to become star host on MSNBC in multi-million dollar role as network refuses to comment on the plan that's upset staff

  • Jen Psaki held back tears in her final White House press briefing on Friday 
  • 'I promised I was gonna keep it together,' she said 
  • Psaki became known for her calm, cool manner and her deft zingers - many of which were aimed at Fox News' Peter Doocy
  • Fans of Psaki called them 'Psaki bombs' 
  • Psaki has said she will miss her back-and-forths with Doocy 
  • After Friday's final briefing, Psaki will have done 224 press briefings
  • The four people who held the press secretary job under President Donald Trump did a combined 205 briefings

MSNBC on Friday refused to deny that outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki had signed a deal to become its new star host after it was claimed some staff were angered by her alleged hiring. 

Psaki, 43, carried out her last press briefing on Friday, fighting to hold back tears at the end of a 16 month stint that saw her hold 224 briefings - more than all four of Donald Trump's press secretaries combined.

On Friday evening, a spokesman for the network refused to confirm what is believed to be the worst-kept secret in TV news - that Psaki left her prestigious job to launch a career with the liberal network.  

In April news broke that she was in talks with various news broadcasters about a post-White House role, and it rapidly emerged that she was in exclusive talks with MSNBC for a multi-million dollar contract to have her own show. 

Questions were asked how she could continue to do her job impartially while in contractual negotiations with one of the media outlets she dealt with daily.

Psaki didn't deny rumors of the planned career change when grilled during a press conference. She didn't go into any specifics either - but insisted she'd always acted ethically, and flagged any potential conflict of interest to her bosses.  

In early April, Noah Oppenheim, the NBC News president, held an impromptu phone call with staff at the Washington bureau - some of whom had complained to their superiors, CNN reported, that the tentative hiring tarnishes the NBC News brand. 

Jen Psaki held back tears in her final White House press briefing on Friday

Jen Psaki held 224 briefings in her 15 months as White House press secretary. She's pictured during her final one on Friday 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki waves goodbye after her last press briefing

The Connecticut-born Psaki, a longtime Democratic press aide, is believed to be heading to MSNBC after the White House

NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker asked Psaki whether she could still be an 'effective briefer' if she was having discussions with a particular media outlet.

'I've taken steps beyond that to ensure there's no conflicts,' said Psaki.

There has been no evident favoritism: Psaki has given four interviews to NBC News/MSNBC; three to Fox News; three to CNN; two to HBO/Showtime; one to ABC News and four to podcasts, according to data provided by the White House.

Administration officials have appeared on all the Sunday public affairs shows since the start of 2022 - ABC featuring the most, at 16, with CNN second at 15, followed by 13 on CBS, 12 on Fox, and 11 appearing on NBC.

Psaki has steadfastly refused to comment on what she would do outside the White House, beyond sleeping and catching up on Netflix shows.

On Friday, MSNBC refused to comment when asked by DailyMail.com whether Psaki's hiring was official.

Nine of the 11 past White House press secretaries went on to carry out a TV commentator role - and one of the two who didn't, Stephanie Grisham, representing Trump, never did a news briefing.

But, unlike Psaki, most have started out as commentators or analysts.

Psaki is expected to host her own show immediately, on the MSNBC streaming service Peacock.

Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (left) will take over as press secretary

Her salary was unclear. Joy Reid earns an estimated $1.5 million a year at MSNBC, while Rachel Maddow, their star anchor, is reported to earn anywhere from $7-30 million a year. 

As press secretary, Psaki made $180,000 - the highest level for any White House employee. She was paid the same as Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain. 

She is widely-believed to have been poached with a seven-figure salary, with bosses at MNSBC likely to be delighted to hire a host with such intimate knowledge of the current administration.  

Psaki herself insisted there had been no double standards in her hunting for a job while still working as White House press secretary.

'I took steps and have taken steps, as I've had any discussions with any future employer, that go over and above any requirements by government, recusing myself of any discussions as well, and I'm proud of that,' Psaki said on Sunday in an interview with Howard Kurtz of Fox News. 

On Friday, in her final session at the podium, she praised her back-and-forth with reporters as democracy in action.

'I promised I was going to keep it together,' she said, as she brushed back tears.

Psaki thanked several people, including the president, her co-workers in the White House, her team in the press office, and the reporters in the White House press corps. 

'I want to thank all of you in this room,' she said to the reporters. 

'You have challenged me, you have pushed me. You have debated me and at times we have disagreed. That is democracy in action. That is it working. 

'Without accountability, without debate, government is not as strong and you all play an incredibly pivotal role.'

She also thanked President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden for letting her serve as spokesperson for the administration.

'I hope I followed the example of integrity and grace that they have set for all of us and do set for all of us every day and I'm incredibly grateful to them,' she said. 

Most of the staff of the White House press office was in the room for the briefing, including her successor Karine Jean-Pierre. 

Psaki's husband Greg Mecher stood on the sidelines to watch her at work.

Psaki's husband Greg Mecher stood on the sidelines of the briefing room during her last briefing to watch her at work

Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy tweeted a photo with Jen Psaki on her last day as press secretary. The pair frequently locked horns in the briefing room, but both insisted their relationship outside was warm and cordial 

Psaki spoke and fielded questions for 61 minutes in her final briefing. She fielded 54 questions from 19 reporters.

Her final briefing wasn't without drama. A reporter from an African news outlet, who regularly complains he doesn't get called on, tried to shout questions over a few reporters in the room but other journalists' shouted him down.

Psaki has been praised for restoring the daily briefing to the White House after Donald Trump preferred to serve as his own spokesperson.

Psaki is a longtime Democratic operative. 

'I have worked more in the White House than anywhere else in my career,' she noted on Thursday. 

She served as communications director during President Barack Obama's administration. 

And she served as John Kerry's spokesperson at the State Department when he was secretary of state. 

Between the Obama and Biden administrations she was a political commentator on CNN.

Psaki became known for her calm, cool manner and her deft zingers - many of which were aimed at Fox News' Peter Doocy. 

The two served as frequent sparring partners with Doocy grilling her on Biden's son Hunter, the response to the COVID pandemic, the migration problem at the border and other topics. 

Fans of Psaki quickly dubbed her responses 'Psaki bombs.'

But she said she'll miss the back-and-forth of the briefing. 

'I will miss him,' Psaki said of Doocy on Thursday, at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. 

'I think we have a very good professional relationship,' she said.

Psaki had to defend herself last month after she was asked on a podcast Doocy was a 'stupid son of a b***h' or just played one on TV.

'He works for a network that provides people with questions that, nothing personal to any individual including Peter Doocy, but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b***h,' she had said. 

Biden was caught on a hot mic earlier this calling Doocy a 'stupid son of a bitch' after Doocy had asked a question about the political liability of record inflation rates since Biden became president. 

He later called Doocy to apologize.  

But Psaki said Thursday the Biden administration was not 'focused here on a fight with Fox.' 

'We have healthy debates and discussions. Doesn't mean I agree with his line of questioning on most days,' she said of Doocy.

When the White House announced earlier this month Psaki would depart on May 13, Doocy told her in that day's briefing: 'Sorry to see you go!'

'Are you?' she responded, garnering laughs.

'Yes, and you've really been a good sport,' Doocy said.

'Thank you,' Psaki said. 'As have you.

Jen Psaki and Peter Doocy's top moments in briefing room 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Fox News' White House correspondent Peter Doocy were frequent sparring partners in her 15 months in the briefing room. 

In some of Psaki and Doocy's more viral moments, she noted he wasn't a doctor, called him out for asking a 'loaded and inaccurate' question on vaccine disinformation, and dropped a few other 'Psaki bombs' on him.

In July, Doocy asked Psaki how long the Biden administration has 'been spying on peoples' Facebook profiles looking for vaccine misinformation.'

'Well, that was quite a loaded and inaccurate question, which I would refute,' Psaki responded.

In April, Doocy asked about mask wearing: 'Why can we sit here in the White House briefing room with no masks,' he asked, while sitting next to a reporter wearing a mask, 'but people can't sit in an airplane cabin with no masks?'

'Well, Peter, I'm not a doctor and you're not a doctor, that I'm aware of,' Psaki said. 'If you're a doctor I wasn't aware of that until today.'

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Fox News' White House correspondent Peter Doocy were frequent sparring partners in her 15 months in the briefing room

In October, Doocy asked Psaki why there should be vaccine mandates for cops when police departments are dealing with so many other challenges.

'There are other problems in the world,' Doocy said. 'International terror, gang violence, murder, arson, drug dealing. Is there any concern?'

'What was the No. 1 cause of death among police officers last year, do you know?' Psaki said. 'COVID-19. So that's something that we're working to address.'

But Psaki said she'll miss the back-and-forth of the briefing. 

'I will miss him,' Psaki said of Doocy on Thursday at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. 

'I think we have a very good professional relationship,' she said.

Psaki had to defend herself last month after she was asked on a podcast Doocy was a 'stupid son of a b***h' or just played one on TV.

'He works for a network that provides people with questions that, nothing personal to any individual including Peter Doocy, but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b***h,' she had said. 

Biden was caught on a hot mic earlier this calling Doocy a 'stupid son of a bitch' after Doocy had asked a question about the political liability of record inflation rates since Biden became president. 

He later called Doocy to apologize.  

But Psaki said Thursday the Biden administration was not 'focused here on a fight with Fox.' 

'We have healthy debates and discussions. Doesn't mean I agree with his line of questioning on most days,' she said of Doocy.

When the White House announced earlier this month Psaki would depart on May 13, Doocy told her in that day's briefing: 'Sorry to see you go!'

'Are you?' she responded, garnering laughs.

'Yes, and you've really been a good sport,' Doocy said.

'Thank you,' Psaki said. 'As have you.'

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