White House press secretary Jen Psaki and her communications team awkwardly played reporters for a day Thursday as part of a holiday greeting from Psaki to the media and her colleagues.
“Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!” Psaki tweeted Thursday afternoon. “To the White House press– thank you for challenging us, for questioning and for holding us accountable as we all work to keep the American people informed. And to the press team–you are simply the best. Grateful every day to work with you.”
The message was accompanied by an image, taken from the White House briefing room podium, of Psaki sitting with 12 of her colleagues in the chairs used by reporters.
Most of the White House staff had their hands raised as if to ask a question, with one woman holding her phone in the style of someone live-tweeting a press briefing.
In her 11 months as press secretary, Psaki has engaged in a number of spats with reporters in the briefing room over issues as varied as abortion rights, the southern Africa travel restrictions, Hunter Biden and more.
Most notably, Psaki lashed out at a male reporter after he questioned how President Biden could support abortion rights despite his Catholic faith.
“Following up on the Texas law, why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?” asked Owen Jensen of Eternal Word Television Network, known for its Catholic-focused programming.
Psaki initially responded by saying it’s the president’s belief that “it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body and it’s her choice.”
Jensen pressed further, asking, “Who does he believe then should look out for the unborn child?”
“He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions. And up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor,” Psaki said before firing back, “I know you’ve never faced those choices nor have you ever been pregnant but for women out there who have faced those choices this is an incredibly difficult thing. The president believes that right should be respected.”
Twitter users who support Biden wished Psaki and her team Merry Christmas, with some thanking her for bringing “honesty” back to the podium – in a swipe at former President Donald Trump’s previous press secretaries.
Others slammed the press secretary and the White House communications staff with unseasonable greetings.
“Too bad you are all liars and have no relationship with the truth, you aren’t fooling anyone with a brain @PressSec,” one user tweeted.
Another called Psaki the “Best deflector in history,” followed by an obscene emoji.
Hours earlier, Psaki had announced that Wednesday’s White House press briefing would be the last one of 2021.
“Don’t look so sad, everyone,” she said as she walked off the podium.