“Jen chose to stand up and question my qualifications and services to this country. Once she did, the gloves were off,” Mr Spicer said. (In 2017, when Mr. Spicer was roundly criticized for calling the Nazi death camps “Holocaust centers,” Ms. Psaki was more magnanimous. “It’s a really tough job, everybody messes up,” she said on CNN at the time.)
Mr. Biden has urged Ms. Psaki to shun acronyms and other government jargon, and once reprimanded her for using the company term “R&D” – research and development – in response. Unlike Mr Trump, Mr Biden does not usually watch briefings in real time, but he has been known to catch snippets on cable news during the day when he has holes in his schedule.
She has also admitted some missteps, such as an early outing in which she appeared to lightly mock the Space Force, the new military branch created by President Trump. She now keeps a Space Force pin on her desk as a reminder of the impact of her words. (Absent from her office is the traditional body armor that was brutally passed around by White House press secretaries; it apparently went missing in January.)
Mr. Biden is no one’s idea of a careful public speaker. (As Mr Axelrod once put it, “He is not a precision instrument.”) Ms Psaki’s main job is to interpret and, in some cases, clean up for record’s sake, a responsibility that has become even heavier in recent weeks. become.
Rahm Emanuel, who worked with Ms. Psaki on Democratic campaigns and recommended her to the Obama team, said he texted Ronald Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of staff, the day her nomination was announced. “I said in the days to come you will count your blessings, that you have made this decision,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about what’s going on in that room.”
Mr Emanuel said he also played a role in Ms Psaki’s personal life. He happily takes credit for urging her future husband, Gregory Mecher, another Democratic aide, to ask her out on the campaign trail. (He later referred to himself as Mr. Mecher’s “wing man.”) The couple married under a mulberry tree at a Maryland estate in 2010; guests included Mr Gibbs and correspondent Jake Tapper.