Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany spoke out this week to address comments made by her successor, current White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who recently admitted that she discourages President Joe Biden from taking questions from the press.
While appearing on David Axelrod’s podcast, Psaki admitted that Biden’s team discourages him from taking questions from the media.
“That is not something we recommend,” Psaki said of him possibly taking questions. “In fact, a lot of times, we say, ‘Don’t take questions,’ you know? But he’s going to do what he’s going to do.”
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McEnany told Fox News that it wasn’t Psaki’s comments that struck her but that Psaki made them public.
“I took my conversations with the president and my advice and consultation to him as sacrosanct,” McEnany said. “I take her point that you always advise a president on the climate of the news and the news cycle but I think broadcasting to the American public the press strategy, you can run into problems and kind of create a news cycle of its own like this comment did.”
McEnany went on to admit that she “at times” advised former President Donald Trump that “you may not want to take questions on your way to the plane” based on a “rough” news cycle, but stressed that her former boss was “always in charge.”
“He would take questions whether you wanted him to or not,” McEnany explained. “I think he enjoyed the banter and back-and-forth with the press.” So, of course, there were times where I said, ‘You know, maybe don’t take questions today’ but I almost think on those days he enjoyed taking questions the most.”
“It’s not that she advises him not to take questions because I certainly did with President Trump, but it’s more that she broadcast her strategy, that her private conversations with the president,” she added.
McEnany then said that if she had said anything like that when she was press secretary, “that would have created a news cycle on CNN and on MSNBC.” She added that it seems like Biden “relishes” in taking questions from reporters, which she suggested means Psaki is “out of sync” with her boss based on her comments.
“I don’t think it’s President Biden himself backing away from the questions,” McEnany concluded. “I really think that- and Jen Psaki said this herself- there’s a mentality of controlling the back-and-forth, making sure he’s not in those freewheeling, jousting dynamics with the press and I think that that’s pretty clear. That’s the strategy of the press’s job but to be honest, I think President Biden- he seems to kind of relish and enjoy the moments.”