WATCH: Jen Psaki Tears Up Saying Her Thank Yous and Goodbyes at Final Briefing
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki got understandably emotional as she thanked her team, her press colleagues, and her husband at her final briefing.
On Friday afternoon, Psaki took to the podium for the final time before Karine Jean-Pierre takes over as her successor. After retaking the floor from her opening acts — Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Detroit Police Chief James White — Psaki began her valediction by saying “I promised myself I wasn’t going to get emotional.”
It was a promise Psaki would break immediately, as she thanked President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, her press colleagues, and the entire “Biden family” of administration officials, as well as the reporters in the room and one other special guest:
JEN PSAKI: One more topper. You know, this is my last briefing, and… It is Brian. And I wanted to start with a series of thank-yous. I promised myself I wasn’t going to get emotional. Okay. Thank you. I want to say thank you to the president and the first lady. They entrusted me in serving in this role for the last 15 months. And I talk about this a little bit before. But during my first conversation with them, which was in November of 2020, after the election, I was very nervous when I went to see them in Delaware. And really what we talked about for the majority of our conversation was the importance of returning integrity, respect and civility to the White House. The small sliver of my job here and in engaging with all of you. That doesn’t not mean that we haven’t let our Irish side show, mine and the president’s as well, from time to time. I recognize that. But on my best days, and as I look back, 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.
I have, I’m not going to get everyone here, but I want to thank… There is a Biden family that has extended and expanded far beyond the Biden-named family, and that includes people who have worked with the president and for the president for many years. Ron, Anita. Bruce. Cedric. Kate. Jody Donilon. Ricchetti. Susan, Deese. Jake, Evan, Annie. Elizabeth Alexander. There’s so many others, and the reason I mention them is because part of my job, or anyone’s job in this role, is to represent and talk about the policies and the work of any administration. They have integrity, grit, commitment to trying even on the hardest days and worst days to make the world better for the American people. And I am very grateful to them. And I’m not going to cry about the press team. Whew! Okay. Thank you to the press team. Many of them are here. Some of them are not here because they are taking much needed days off. It has nothing to do with me personally, I promise. But you all know a lot of them. For those who don’t know them, they are incredibly tough, smart, hard-working, and deeply, deeply good human beings, deeply good public servants. And, you know, people always ask me and I’m sure you guys get asked this, too, about whether Washington is rotten, you know, whether everybody is corrupt here. And, you know, nothing good happens and we all just argue with each other. And I, having done this job, believe the absolute opposite is true because I have worked with and engaged with all of these incredible people across the administration and this amazing team, many of whom are here that I get to work with every day.
And I said, as I said about Karine last week, these people are already the stars of the team, but they’re going to be shining stars in the future and I’ll miss them a lot. Okay. Whoo! I promised myself was going to keep it together. I’m not. This is the last part of this.
I want to thank all of you in this room. 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. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for making me better. And most importantly, thank you for the work every day you do to make this country stronger. And I am very grateful to all of you as well. So thank you for your role and to the role of your colleagues here and around the world. Okay. With that, Zeke, go ahead.
ZEKE MILLER: Thank you, Jen. I wish we wish you well.
JEN PSAKI: Can I do one more? Thank you. Because my husband is here, and I think anybody who is married with kids knows that without a remarkable spouse, you would never be able to do it. I know many of you have kids. I’m just looking at Ashley, Ed, mary, so many MJ and he is not only been a supporter and advocate of mine, but he is an incredible partner and dad and I wouldn’t be here without him. Okay. Go ahead. Now, some serious issues. Go ahead.
Watch above via C-Span 2.
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