Jen Psaki is set to deliver her final press briefing

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Jen Psaki held back tears in her final press briefing on Friday as she praised her back-and-forth with reporters as democracy in action.

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‘I promised I was gonna 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. 

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‘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.

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

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

Jen Psaki held 224 briefings in her 15 months as White House press secretary

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

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

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

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

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

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 call on, tried to shout questions over a few reporters in the room but other journalists’ shouted him down.

Psaki held more briefings than all the press secretaries of the Trump administration combined and restored the daily briefing to the White House after Donald Trump prefered to serve as his own spokesperson.

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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. 

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

Jen Psaki's last press briefing is Frida

Fox News' White House Correspondent Peter Doocy

Jen Psaki’s last press briefing is Friday; she was known for her sparring with Fox News’ Peter Doocy

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. 

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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.

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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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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.’

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‘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

Fox News' White House correspondent Peter Doocy

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

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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. 

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‘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. 

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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.

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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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Reflecting on her time on the job on Thursday, Psaki bragged she did more briefings than all Trump press secretaries combined and said the hardest part of the job were the personal threats, some of which had her kids name on them. 

She revealed she’s received death threats, has had people threaten to come to her house, and that her kids have been threatened by name.

‘The thing that has been hardest personally is I have had threats. I have had nasty letters, texts to me with my personal address, the names of my children. It crosses lines, you know, and that’s when it becomes a little scary,’ she said at a breakfast sponsored by Christian Science Monitor.

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Psaki, 43, has two children, aged six and four.  Her husband, Greg Mecher, has served as a Democratic staffer on Capitol hill. 

‘I’m, in many ways, a public figure. People can like me dislike me, that’s okay. You know, it’s, I believe in I’m very much in freedom of speech. My kids are 6 and 4 And I worry about their safety. And that is a real concern to me and has been so and that can be of concern to public officials,’ she said.

She said some of the threats were reported to the Secret Service. 

‘There is a circulation of my address among the Arlington Republican Party,’ she said. 

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Outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki reflected on her time on the job ahead of her final briefing; Psaki leaves high-profile job on Friday

Outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki reflected on her time on the job ahead of her final briefing; Psaki leaves high-profile job on Friday

Jen Psaki said the hardest part of her job is that she and her children have received threats - Psaki, her husband and kids are seen at the annual Turkey Pardoning at the White House this past November

Jen Psaki said the hardest part of her job is that she and her children have received threats – Psaki, her husband and kids are seen at the annual Turkey Pardoning at the White House this past November

Psaki is not the first press secretary to be threatened.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was Trump’s first spokesperson, received Secret Service protection during her tenure due to threats and after being confronted in restaurants by critics of the Trump administration. 

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In her reflection on her job, Psaki said coming in after the turbulent Trump years, she was focused on reestablishing and rebuilding ‘trust with the public and trust in institutions and trust with the media.’

‘I’ve done more press briefings than every single Trump press secretary combined,’ Psaki noted.

The Trump administration did not hold many press briefings. Stephanie Grisham, during her tenure, did not hold a single one. Donald Trump tended use Twitter and campaign rallies to communicate with the public. 

Biden’s administration sought to reset relations with the press. Psaki held her first briefing on Biden’s first day in office.  She has has answered reporters’ questions nearly every weekday of the almost 500 days that Biden has been in office.

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After Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, she is the most known face of the Biden administration. 

She is set to leave the high-profile job on Friday and will be replaced by her principal deputy, Karine Jean-Pierre, who is poised to become the first black person and openly gay person to serve as White House press secretary. 

After Friday’s final briefing, Psaki will have done 224 press briefings. The four people who held the job under President Donald Trump did a combined 205 briefings, according to data from Martha Joynt Kumar of the White House Transition Project, which tracks this kind of data.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks to member of the media aboard Air Force One last Friday - she will hold her last press briefing this Friday

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks to member of the media aboard Air Force One last Friday – she will hold her last press briefing this Friday

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After Friday's final briefing, Psaki will have done 225 press briefings. The four people who held the job under President Donald Trump did a combined 205 briefings

After Friday’s final briefing, Psaki will have done 225 press briefings. The four people who held the job under President Donald Trump did a combined 205 briefings

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. 

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

She has not said what she will do next but it’s been reported she will sign a contract with MSNBC. 

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