CNN pundit-turned-White House press secretary Jen Psaki held her first press briefing on Wednesday and the mostly friendly questions were a stark contrast to the way media members treated the Trump administration’s first event.
Psaki left CNN to take a gig as a senior adviser for the Biden-Harris transition team and was later named press secretary. The first question she faced was swiftly mocked as a “softball” on social media when Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller asked, “Do you see yourself–your primary role as promoting the interest of the president, or are you there to provide us the unvarnished truth so that we can share that with the American people?”
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Trump press secretaries Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders and Kayleigh McEnany were regularly scolded and criticized by the press over the past four years. President Trump eventually reduced the number of briefings as a result, as some reporters became heroes of the anti-Trump resistance for aggressively grilling the president’s spokespersons.
But on Wednesday, Psaki was asked about things like what color Biden would prefer Air Force One to be and how thoroughly staffers cleaned the White House prior to Inauguration Day.
“This is the normal honeymoon that tends to happen with presidents. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, they started off in divorce court with the press and they never let up for one day,” American Conservative Union chair Matt Schlapp said on “The Faulkner Focus.”
Reporters didn’t bother to ask Psaki about a variety of hot-button issues, such as the DOJ slush fund, Keystone Pipeline and jobs affected by stopping the project, the Central American migrant caravan or the Hunter Biden probe.
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Here are some of the questions Psaki faced during her first official briefing:
- “The battle for truth may be as tough a fight right now, as is the battle against coronavirus. How do you and President Biden plan to combat disinformation that in many ways led to that assault we witness two weeks ago today on the capital?”
- There was a lot of comments today about his familiarity with the Senate. How involved will he be in [the COVID-relief measures] process?
- Can you talk a little bit just about kind of the preparations for getting the–the White House ready and save for the–the president, the new president? It’s been reported that you did $500,000 worth of deep cleaning. Could you talk about the measures that you took to ensure that the president is safe?
- Could you just give us some color about what it was like for him going into the Oval Office? He’s been waiting for this for so long. What was his reaction?
- On President Trump’s inauguration day, he filed the paperwork to run for reelection same day. Does President Biden have any plans to do that today or in the coming days?
- The president pledged today to repair alliances. Has he planned his first foreign trip yet?
- Will he keep Donald Trump’s Air Force One color scheme change?
- The president did not mention the word Trump in his inaugural address today. What was the intention behind not making any direct reference to his predecessor in that speech?
- How does President Biden plan to recover the United States’ image around the world, and what is his priority globally?
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Spicer, who served as Trump’s first press secretary, held an unofficial briefing the day after the inauguration when he famously read a statement about the administration feeling that the media inaccurately reported the inauguration crowd size.
Two days later when he conducted the first official briefing, he was confronted with questions that were significantly less friendly than the ones posed to Psaki, while many members of the press decided to bicker about the crowd size debate.
Here are some of the questions Spicer faced during his first official briefing:
- “The president campaigned on a corporate tax cut rate of 15 percent and today when he met with the business leaders, he had mentioned that the tax rate would drop to somewhere between 15 to 20 percent. Is he moving the goalpost there in anyway?”
- “Will the president be meeting with the full body of the Congressional Black Caucus as well as the Hispanic Caucus on issues related to those communities?”
- “Is it your intention to always tell the truth from that podium, and will you pledge never to knowingly something that is not factual?”
- “Do you stand by your statement that was the most watched inaugural address?”
- “2016 was the hottest year on record and the last three years have been the hottest three years on record. Scientists are saying that we’re getting dangerously close to the point where human civilization is being threatened. How does President Trump plan to address this?”
- “What is the president’s message to the millions of people here in Washington and around the country who were protesting on Saturday?”
- “Has the president spoken to any of the intelligence agencies about the investigation into the Russian connections?”
- “What would be the relation between this administration and the Hispanic community in the U.S.?”
- “Why make this crowd side issue — or crowd size issue something to talk about at all? I mean, why get into it? Did it bother the president that much that he felt that you needed to come out here and straighten that out for us?”
- “Why did you come out Saturday afternoon to talk about that? Did he tell you, Sean, I’m upset about this, I want you to come out?”
- “Isn’t it a fair criticism that you’ve got bigger fish to fry? Why worry about a couple of tweets about crowd size?”
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Fox News’ Peter Hasson contributed to this report.