White House press secretary Jen Psaki says she and her children were target of ‘threats’ for White House work
Outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki has detailed some of the tougher aspects of the job, including threats she received from angry critics of the Biden administration, in an interview with members of the press corps this week.
Speaking at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Thursday, Ms Psaki explained that throughout her time at the White House she received threatening messages mentioning both her and her children, with some even containing mentions of her home address.
“The thing that has been hardest, personally, is I have had threats, I have had nasty letters, texts to me with my personal address, the names of my children,” she said.
Ms Psaki continued, adding that such behaviour “crosses lines ... and that’s when it becomes a little scary”.
“I have had threats … people threatening to come to my house, letters, texts,” she said. “I am not saying I am the first. This is common and that is what should be alarming to people.”
“My kids are six and four and I worry about their safety,” Ms Psaki noted.
Her stark warning about the dangers of public service in modern America underscores the continuing fierce political tensions that are interwoven into every aspect of American government; polarisation, which Joe Biden hoped to address as president, has only continued as the US left and right are more divided than ever before.
Complicating the issue, as always, is former President Donald Trump, who continues to falsely insist that the Biden administration is illegitimate and that the 2020 election was stolen from the former president.
Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy press secretary under Ms Psaki, will take over her role on Saturday after Ms Psaki’s final briefing from the podium on Friday.
The top Biden press aide previously served at the State Department under the previous Democratic administration and is now headed to MSNBC following a stint as press secretary that saw her deliver more briefings than any press secretary during Donald Trump’s entire presidency.
The 43-year-old veteran press secretary will join another previous White House press secretary, Nicole Wallace, at the left-leaning network and is reportedly set to host a show on its Peacock streaming service.
Ms Jean-Pierre steps into the role ahead of a tough midterm season for the White House which is struggling to show Democrats that it can make progress in a stiffly-divided Washington and deliver on priorities for voters that will motivate their base to turn out and protect majorities in the House and Senate.
Her tenure at the White House will mark the first time a Black or LGBT+ person has taken over the top spot in charge of the White House press room.