IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki plans to leave for an on-air role at MSNBC

Psaki, who has not finalized an agreement with MSNBC, is expected to leave the White House around May, Axios reported.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House.Al Drago / Reuters
/ Source:

President Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, is planning to leave the White House to take an on-air role at MSNBC, a source familiar with the matter told CNBC on Friday.

Psaki, who is still fleshing out details with the company, is expected to leave the White House around May, Axios reported earlier Friday.

Psaki will host a show for NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock, Axios reported. She had reportedly also been in talks with CNN and other networks. NBC News and MSNBC share the same parent company, NBCUniversal.

Psaki did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

“We don’t have anything to confirm about Jen’s length of planned service or any consideration about future plans,” a White House official told CNBC in an email. “Jen is here and working hard every day on behalf of the President to get you the answers to the questions that you have, and that’s where her focus is.”

News networks have long looked to recruit spokespeople and other high-profile Beltway figures for their day-to-day political coverage, both as anchors and regular contributors.

Longtime ABC News host George Stephanopoulos, for instance, was formerly the White House communications director under President Bill Clinton. MSNBC political analyst and host Nicolle Wallace was a senior spokeswoman for the George W. Bush administration and a spokeswoman for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Last March, former President Donald Trump’s final press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, joined Fox News as a commentator. More recently, CBS News signed ex-Trump official Mick Mulvaney as a paid contributor.

Psaki served as President Barack Obama’s communications director. She joined the current administration as press secretary in late 2020, prior to Biden’s inauguration.

The press secretary role tends to suffer from high turnover. Perhaps the most visible of any communications job in the White House, press secretaries in the modern age of video-driven news cycles are often ripe targets for an administration’s critics.

Trump cycled through four press secretaries in a single four-year term. Obama had three over two terms, his predecessor Bush had four in the same period and Clinton burned through five in eight years.

Other Biden communications staff, such as principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, have at times taken the helm at the briefing room lectern instead of Psaki. Over the past week, Jean-Pierre, communications director Kate Bedingfield and deputy press secretary Andrew Bates all led interactions with reporters after Psaki tested positive for Covid.