Reporters pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki Friday on the ethics of negotiating potential employment at MSNBC from the podium.
Psaki has reportedly coordinated with MSNBC executives about hosting a show on the network and NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock. She has worked closely with compliance lawyers and White House counsel about her future employment plans to ensure no regulations are violated.
CBS News White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe asked Psaki to validate the reports surrounding her future employment.
“Well, you can’t get rid of me yet, Ed. I have nothing to confirm about my length of public service or planned service or anything about consideration about next plans,” the press secretary said. “I am very happy to be standing with all of you here today after it felt like a never ending, endless time in my basement quarantining away from my family. Believe it or not, I missed you all a lot.”
“And my focus everyday continues to be speaking on behalf of the president, answering your questions as tough as they may be at many times, as difficult as they may be to answer at many times and I hope that I meet my own bar of treating everybody with fairness and being equitable.”
O’Keefe and Weekend Today co-chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker both questioned Psaki on the ethical standards of negotiating with a media outlet from the podium. The press secretary said she takes ethical standards “very seriously” and has received ethics counseling surrounding future employment. (RELATED: Psaki Responds To Rumor That She’s Going To MSNBC Or CNN)
“I would say that, again, I have taken the ethical requirements very seriously and any discussions and any considerations about any future employment just as any White House official would and have taken steps beyond that to ensure there’s no conflicts.”
Welker further pressed how it is ethical to negotiate with media outlets from the podium and whether it is the policy of the White House to have staffers communicate with private sector industries that directly impact their current job positions.
“Well, there are a range of stringent ethical and legal requirements that are imposed on everybody and this administration, and many administrations past, about any conversations you’re having with future employers. That is true of any industry you’re working in and I have abided by those and tried to take steps to go beyond that as well,” she said.
“It is the policy of this White House that anyone who’s having conversations about future employment does so through consultation with the White House counsel’s office and ensuring they abide by ethics and legal requirements and those are conversations that I have taken very seriously and abided by every component of,” she continued.
The press secretary has yet to sign a contract with the network, allowing her to continue standing at the podium, sources told Axios.