White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that President Biden asked that she bring “truth and transparency back to the briefing room,” during her first press briefing of the Biden Administration.
Psaki told reporters that Biden asked her to also “ensure we are communicating the policies across the Biden-Harris administration” to the media and to the American people.
“There will be times when we see things differently in this room, among all of us,” Psaki said. “That’s okay— that’s part of our democracy.”
She added: “Rebuilding trust is central to our focus in the White House and in the press office.”
Psaki, a former CNN contributor, who served in the White House and as spokesperson at the State Department during the Obama Administration, said that she has “a deep respect for a free and independent press.”
“There will be moments when we disagree and days where we disagree,” Psaki said, while adding that she and the president have a “common goal of sharing accurate information with the American people.”
Psaki touted Biden, saying he “will bring truth back to government,” something she said she hopes “to deliver on as well.”
Meanwhile, Psaki outlined the executive actions and orders Biden signed Wednesday — including actions to roll back several of former President Trump’s policies, and restoring some of former President Obama’s programs.
Psaki also told reporters that Biden would have his first foreign leader call on Friday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two will discuss the “important relationship with Canada,” and Biden’s Wednesday decision to revoke the presidential permit granted to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Psaki said that a call for Biden with Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet been scheduled, but said that she expects his “early calls will be with partners and allies.”
“He feels it’s important to rebuild those relationships and address challenges around the world,” Psaki said.
Psaki noted that the Biden administration’s plan to revisit the Iran Nuclear Deal will “lengthen and strengthen nuclear constraints on Iran” and she anticipates that will be part of Biden’s early discussions with foreign counterparts.
The briefing came just hours after Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
Psaki described Biden as arriving to the White House with “an incredible sense of calm, and a sense of some joy,” adding that he spent the day with his family.
“He also said he felt like he was coming home,” Psaki said. “Remember, he spent eight years here as vice president, in an important role as partner to former President Obama.”
Meanwhile, former President Trump did not attend Biden’s inaugural ceremony — in an extraordinary move — making him just the fourth president in United States history to skip the ceremony of his successor.
Trump, though, left Biden a letter before departing the White House on Wednesday.
Biden, earlier in the day, told reporters that the letter was “very generous,” and said he would “not talk about it because it was private, so I will not talk about it until I talk to him, but it was generous.”
Trump spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed to Fox News that former President Trump had left a letter to his successor in the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office, as is tradition.
Psaki doubled down on Biden’s readout of Trump’s letter, again calling it “generous” and “gracious,” but said that Biden’s comments are “not an indication of a pending call with the former president.”
The House of Representatives made history last week and impeached Trump for a second time. At this point, it is unclear when the Senate could begin an impeachment trial, but Psaki said that the president hopes the Senate can “multi-task.”
“We are confident that, just like the American people can, the Senate can also multi-task and they can do their constitutional duty while continuing to conduct the business of the American people,” Psaki said. “He’s going to leave the mechanics to Congress on how to moves forward with impeachment.”
She added: “Having talked to him today, his focus is not on politics. It is on getting to work and solving the problems for the American people.”
Author: Brooke Singman