Journalists, viewers and critics celebrated a return to normality on Wednesday as the new White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, delivered a briefing free of lies, insults and boasts about crowd size.
Highlighting the importance of “bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room” in President Joe Biden’s administration, Psaki noted that “there will be times where we see things differently in this room … that’s OK. That’s part of our democracy, and rebuilding trust with the American people will be central to our focus in the press office and in the White House every single day.”
She was asked questions and answered them. She didn’t attack the press. She pledged daily briefings. All in all, it was a relatively normal process, but it stood in marked contrast to the scenes Americans have grown accustomed to over the past four years from a rotating cast of press secretaries under former President Donald Trump. Some of his press secretaries went weeks or months without holding a briefing.
Several people contrasted Psaki’s debut with that of Sean Spicer, Trump’s first press secretary, who claimed falsely in his first official briefing that Trump had “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.” Former senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended him by saying there were “alternative facts.”
As some viewers commented Wednesday, if CJ Cregg ― the beloved press secretary character in the “West Wing” TV series ― is trending on Twitter after your first briefing, you must be doing something right.