Breaking News

White Residence Press Secretary Jen Psaki Performs ‘Not My Job’ On ‘Wait Wait’ : NPR


And now the activity the place we set odd questions to individuals who just aren’t employed to that – but not this time. Jen Psaki has served in the trenches of government for several years, but now she is the most notable confront of the Biden administration. She’s the White Residence push secretary. She has currently redefined the purpose by answering inquiries calmly and factually without having insulting the questioner. We failed to know that was achievable. We hope she sticks to it now.

Jen Psaki, welcome to Hold out Wait around… You should not Tell ME.

JEN PSAKI: Thank you. This is when I’m going to get genuinely horrible, so…

SAGAL: Last but not least. Lastly.


SAGAL: I in fact needed to ask you that since a selection of folks have noted that you’ve got been really generous, specialist. We’re not utilized to that.

PSAKI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Have you been tempted nevertheless? And I know this is not your first gig as a communications specialist, but have you been tempted still to just snap at anyone?

PSAKI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: It can be, like, all bets are off.

PSAKI: You know, in Dana Perino’s book, she talks about owning her finger, the center finger, up in the podium beneath when she’s just, like, truly – just they are obtaining below her skin. So (unintelligible) that out as an solution. But no, it can be only been a week. I…


PSAKI: I have a minor mystery issue I do – probably not key mainly because I’m telling all of you. But when when reporters are finding truly loud, or they are starting off to inquire ridiculous concerns, I just gradual down my speed, and I communicate really quietly, and I treat them like I’m an orderly from time to time in an crazy asylum.


PSAKI: Not that they are individuals in an crazy asylum. But, from time to time, that is all you have to do to neat by yourself down inside of.

SAGAL: Were being you – simply because this is what I would have completed, and this is why I will not – I am not trusted with positions like yours. Were being you tempted at all to come out in your really 1st working day at the pretty very first Biden administration press convention and announce that Biden’s inauguration had the premier audience ever…

PSAKI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: …Even with what every person was declaring, just to do it?

PSAKI: I imply, I was tempted. I did get a good deal of people today – some of my predecessors, not naming names – who sent me jokes – you know, jokes…

SAGAL: Yeah.

PSAKI: …About crowd dimensions. None of them had been terrific. I was a minor concerned persons would glance at me…


PSAKI: …With blank stares – like, what is actually going on right now? So I didn’t do any of them. But I was a little tempted. I’m not going to lie.

TOM PAPA: Jen, is it your target – I necessarily mean, you might be really good at what you do, and it really is really calming and good to see. But is it – your established objective is just to test not to get on “Dancing With The Stars”?


SAGAL: Whichever you do, it is, like, not that, not that. Don’t finish up there.

PSAKI: And every time I am owning a minimal working day, I variety of – I have from time to time pulled up that picture of Sean Spicer – the video of him shimmying in that shirt.

SAGAL: Sure.

PSAKI: I have done (unintelligible). It can be very little individual. I do not want him sick. But that shirt was fairly amazing. My goal is not to get on “Dancing With The Stars.” I can assure that.

SAGAL: It can be real. It was not the dancing. It was not the stars. It was the puffy sleeves that seriously…

PSAKI: The sleeves – I suggest, I was…

SAGAL: Certainly.

PSAKI: …Your wife see that shirt? Did you wear that shirt realizing what the shirt appeared like?


PSAKI: But I also wanted to give him suggestions.

YASSIR LESTER: Now, you can find been a lot of turmoil with what I’m about to mention, but…

PSAKI: Oh, we are all set. We are prepared.

LESTER: Which instructor does Biden ride with the most for Peloton?

PSAKI: Oh, that is a wonderful query. Of course.

LESTER: I am a fellow Peloton head, so…

PSAKI: This is these kinds of a very good question.

LESTER: So if you notify me, you might be also heading to have to give me his screenname.


LESTER: I’m just letting you know.

PSAKI: I suggest, I am not frightened to talk to him all sorts of random queries. I have not requested him this. I genuinely want it to be Ally Like.

LESTER: Sundays with Love – occur on.

PSAKI: Sundays with Really like – it can be just this really – definitely get a training, get a minimal non secular instant. It really is all the things.


JESSI KLEIN: Oh, my gosh.


KLEIN: I had pictured President Biden as more of like a – I you should not know – like, an Alex Toussaint male.


KLEIN: I never know. I surely will need to know the answer to this. I have puzzled the same issue.

PSAKI: We may possibly will need to stick to up with all of your list.

LESTER: We should really get to experience with him.

PSAKI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So we notice you’ve been undertaking this for a whilst, and you’re really superior at dodging questions you you should not want to reply.

PSAKI: Certainly.


PSAKI: That is true.

SAGAL: We wanted to see how you did it, so I will question you this. Hey, Jen, we’re having this terrific time. We are possessing this fantastic time Saturday night. We’re all heading to dangle out. We’re all likely to be taking part in some foosball in my basement, consuming some, you know, White Claw. Why do not you appear over? Can you arrive over and join us for that on Saturday night time?

PSAKI: You know, that is a terrific supply. I genuinely respect it. I am just likely to have to get back to you following the briefing on it. I promise I will do that.


PSAKI: I do say it truly is…

SAGAL: Definitely? Is – that’s it? Just…

PSAKI: Twitter’s had a minimal enjoyment with me because I say, I am heading to circle again. I am likely to circle back. Now, I will say, and my quite hardworking staff can ensure, I am obsessed with circling back again with reporters, and not just saying it, but soon after the briefing having back again to them. That is sort of a tic I have that I’ve received to perform on.

But frequently, what I will say – and all people has their different items – is I will say, I just really don’t have something far more for you on it. I just never have anything additional for you – which is accurate. And at times that is the reality. Which is what you have received to say.

KLEIN: Which is, like, a excellent way to get out of a marriage, too. Just say…


KLEIN: I never have everything more for you.


PSAKI: I don’t have anything at all a lot more for you now (unintelligible).

SAGAL: I’m sorry.

KLEIN: Yeah, and I won’t be circling back again.

PAPA: Can I circle back?


PSAKI: In some cases, you just really don’t have the solution. And, you know, there – in there, you happen to be just not likely to know the response to a million and just one distinct questions they could have. And in some cases you just have to adhere to up with them. And which is Alright, as well. So I actually do do that. But when I am not likely to tell them any much more, I say, I will not have something a lot more for you on that. So which is my idea. Use it with boyfriends, regardless of what. That is wonderful.


SAGAL: Do you ever wander off the – from the podium immediately after a push convention is completed and, like, five minutes afterwards think of the thing you should really have mentioned?

PSAKI: Just about every working day.

SAGAL: Yeah.

PSAKI: I suggest, each and every working day. Every day, you stroll up, and I say, didn’t begin a war. Hey, that is great.

SAGAL: Certainly.

PSAKI: But, you know, just about every day, I meet with my team. They’re magnificent. And I say, Ok, what troubles did I induce now?

PAPA: Proper.

PSAKI: What can I cleanse up now? And what really should I say better tomorrow? And that’s variety of what I go as a result of. To President Biden’s credit score, I indicate, he kind of – he suggests, if you mess up, fess up. And if you, you know, don’t have the solution, will not make it up. And I stick to that.

SAGAL: I have one particular past issue in advance of we get to the recreation. You have younger children, suitable?

PSAKI: I do.

SAGAL: Yeah. How previous just?

PSAKI: Two and a 50 % and 5 1/2.

SAGAL: Two and a 50 % and 5 1/2. And I guess the 2 1/2 is the 2 1/2 but does the 5 1/2-year-previous know what you do for a dwelling and understands why you have to be at do the job so much?

PSAKI: Yeah. Nicely, when – my partner has worked on the Hill for a extensive time. And we experienced this e book, and it experienced the Capitol. And this is maybe two years in the past, and she would say, daddy is effective there. And then she’d say, what do you do again, mom? I was functioning in a feel tank. It was significantly less thrilling to her. But when I took this occupation, I – you know, I took her out to ice cream. I mentioned, you know, Joe Biden, that really wonderful male who’s heading to help mend the state, questioned me if I can aid him for a though – you know, try to make it 5-12 months-old terms. And I mentioned…

SAGAL: Yeah.

PSAKI: And I’m likely to do this, but it is also a sacrifice for you mainly because we’re not heading to get to commit as substantially time with each other. And, you know, in that way, you’re encouraging Joe Biden, also, and you might be serving to heal the region. And I was, like, genuinely very pleased of myself. And I was, like…

SAGAL: That is very good.

PSAKI: …Does that make sense? And she stated, not definitely, mommy.


KLEIN: Did she – and did she just say, I don’t have something for – anything at all a lot more for you?


PAPA: Circle back.

PSAKI: I really don’t have anything much more for you on that.


SAGAL: Very well, Jen Psaki, it is a pleasure to talk to you, and we feel fortunate to do so. But we have, in fact, invited you listed here to play a match that this time we’re contacting…

Bill KURTIS: Take a Dip in This Pool.

SAGAL: You deal all working day with the press pool, so we believed we’d ask you about actual swimming pools – swimming pools.

PSAKI: Okay.

SAGAL: Respond to three inquiries about swimming pools in politics, and you will get our prize for one of our listeners, the voice of anybody they decide on on their voicemail. Invoice, who is White Household Push Secretary Jen Psaki actively playing for?

KURTIS: Samantha Stewart of Portland, Ore.

SAGAL: Initial query – pools have played an significant job in global diplomacy, such as which of these? A, to attain the upper hand, Mao Zedong scheduled a conference with Khrushchev in a swimming pool, recognizing that Khrushchev could not swim B, the division of the Ottoman Empire following the Initially World War was settled by a four-lap swimming race between the British and French primary ministers or C, the Paris peace talks to conclude the Vietnam War took so prolonged because the Vietnamese held taking prolonged breaks to use the lodge Jacuzzi.

PSAKI: I am heading to go A.

SAGAL: You happen to be going to go A. You’re just ideal.


SAGAL: That’s what transpired.


SAGAL: There are pictures from that summit concerning Mao Zedong and Khrushchev in the swimming pool in which Khrushchev is wearing floaties.


SAGAL: All suitable. You got 1 suitable. Going on. Now, as I am confident you also know, there is a pool in the White Dwelling correct now, an out of doors swimming pool developed by Gerald Ford, who liked to swim laps. Which of these definitely transpired at the White Home pool? A, Jimmy Carter transformed it into a cistern for rainwater to water the Rose Yard in an ecologically delicate way or B, Barbara Bush was attacked by a swimming rat in the pool, which was killed by her husband, President George H.W. Bush or C, Invoice Clinton gained a cannonball contest by throwing in real cannonballs he requisitioned from the secretary of the Military.

PSAKI: I want it to be B, so I’m heading to go with B.

SAGAL: You are appropriate.


SAGAL: That’s what happened.


PSAKI: All suitable.

SAGAL: Mrs. Bush said it was the worst thing that transpired to her at the White Residence. Alright, very last question. Pools also performed a role in the Cold War. How? A, the CIA came up with a program to fall substances into all Soviet swimming pools to convert them instantly into Jell-O B, the Soviets proved their superiority by constructing a nuclear submarine with a swimming pool on board or C, the Soviets bugged the swimming pool at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and became persuaded a top rated spy went by the codename Marco Polo.

PSAKI: I’m going to go with C.

SAGAL: You’re heading to go with C, that the Soviets in fact considered there was a Marco Polo because they held shouting his title.

PSAKI: I am just heading to go with it.

SAGAL: I assume you happen to be proper. I think you happen to be self-assured. But no, it was truly B. The Soviets…


SAGAL: …Constructed a nuclear missile submarine significant sufficient to have a swimming pool on board.

PSAKI: I just could not imagine that 1. But all proper. All ideal. All appropriate – 2 for 3 – I experience Okay about that.

SAGAL: Invoice, how did Jen Psaki do on our quiz?

KURTIS: She had currently gained two, so you have received, Jen.



SAGAL: Congratulations.

PSAKI: All proper.

SAGAL: Jen Psaki is the White Home push secretary. Jen Psaki, thank you so substantially for joining us on Wait Hold out… Really don’t Tell ME.

PSAKI: Thank you so significantly. It was so good talking with all of you.

SAGAL: Acquire treatment.

KLEIN: Thank you.

SAGAL: Many thanks yet again, and good luck. We are going to see you on the Television.

PSAKI: Thank you.


Red VELVET: (Singing) Hey, hey, you – so whatcha gonna do? (Talking Japanese) in the swimming pool.

SAGAL: In just a moment, Invoice requires you on a culinary journey you’ll never forget and you can in all probability regret in the Listener Limerick Problem. Phone 1-888-Wait around-Wait to be a part of us on the air. We are going to be back again in a minute with far more of Wait Hold out… Really don’t Explain to ME from NPR.

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our internet site terms of use and permissions internet pages at for even further information.

NPR transcripts are produced on a hurry deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and generated utilizing a proprietary transcription approach produced with NPR. This text may not be in its closing form and may perhaps be up to date or revised in the future. Precision and availability may perhaps fluctuate. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio report.