WATCH: There’s Something New at Jen Psaki’s Press Briefings — Shouted Questions as She Leaves Podium


There’s a new feature at White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s daily briefings, one which has been largely missing since the days when the Trump administration held briefings: shouted questions.

Among a slew of sharp contrasts between the Trump administration and that of President Joe Biden has been the frequency and conduct of the respective press shops’ daily briefings. While the Trump press shop abandoned daily briefings for long stretches, once for well more than a year, Psaki’s press shop has held briefings on nearly a daily basis.

And while Trump’s press secretaries struggled to take questions for more than twenty minutes at a time — Sean Spicer once held a briefing that lasted all of seven minutes — Psaki’s generally clock in at 40 minutes to an hour, and often longer than that if she’s got an opening act. Her shortest briefing to date was her first, at just over 30 minutes.

And until recently, another marked contrast was the absence of shouted questions at the end of the briefings, which were a regular feature during the Trump administration, and a not-infrequent occurrence during my years covering then-President Barack Obama’s press shop.

That’s partially because, although Obama’s press secretaries also held regular briefings that often lasted an hour or more, Psaki is more efficient with her words than her old colleagues and takes questions for much longer than the less-verbose Trump press secretaries.

And as Psaki and many White House reporters acknowledge, there’s also a performative aspect to the press briefings. While there were often more opinionated correspondents eager to get their licks in against Obama’s and Trump’s spokespeople, Psaki has managed to avoid that sort of spectacle. Some of that has to do with the fact that she regularly calls on those sorts of correspondents — and pretty much anyone else who has a question. There’s simply nothing left to shout.

But there’s been a noticeable trend of reporters shouting questions at Psaki as she tries to depart the podium at the last five consecutive briefings. On Thursday, it was Newsmax’s Emerald Robinson rattling off a loaded question that Psaki completely ignored.

On Friday, Psaki was lobbed a question after she’d wrapped up and answered it:

Q    Jen, if you couldn’t anticipate the fall of Kabul, how could we be sure that we’ll be able to get the bombers at the — that bombed the airport?

MS. PSAKI:  I think you should have faith on the capabilities of our military and our national security team.

On Monday, a reporter tried to squeeze a question in at the end, and Psaki responded, “I’ll be back tomorrow — and I’ll be here,” with a similar interaction on Tuesday as well.

And on Wednesday, Psaki engaged once more with a question as she left the podium:

Q    What about Americans left behind in Afghanistan, Jen?  The President said the buck stopped with him.  Can you care to elaborate on that?  What does the President plan to do to get Americans back home?

MS. PSAKI:  He also said yesterday he’s getting them home, and we’re going to do exactly that.

The trend may be reflective of an atypically busy news cycle for this administration or a shift in the briefing room dynamic, but it is noteworthy — as is Psaki’s response to it.

Watch above via C-Span.

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