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The First White House Press Briefing Of The Biden Presidency Was Extremely Mild

White House press secretary Jen Psaki's first briefing was respectful, thorough, and relatively newsless. So: the opposite of Trump-era briefings.

Posted on January 20, 2021, at 8:25 p.m. ET

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki conducts her first news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Jan. 20.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki opened the first press conference of the Biden administration, reestablishing a relationship with the press and reviewing the slew of executive orders that President Joe Biden signed during his first day in the White House.

It was civil and relatively free of news — a complete reversal from what has happened in the rare press briefings of the last four years.

Psaki opened the press conference vowing to bring back an era of “truth and transparency” to the briefing room and committed to having regularly scheduled press briefings — a markedly different approach from the infrequent and often hostile interactions with the press that defined the Trump administration’s time in the White House.

During the first press conference of the Trump administration, Sean Spicer, the former White House Press Secretary, spent the entire briefing lying and chastising the press about the size of the crowd at former president Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

“There will be moments when we disagree, and there will certainly be days where we disagree for extensive parts of the briefing even, perhaps,” Psaki said during Wednesday’s press briefing. “But we have a common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.”

Psaki, the former Obama-era White House communications director and chief State Department spokesperson, spent a majority of the press conference reviewing the 15 executive orders that Biden signed that afternoon concerning the pandemic and reversing a slew of Trump policies, including ending the “Muslim ban,” pausing construction on the border wall, and rejoining the World Health Organization and the Paris climate agreement.

Psaki also told the press that Biden would let Congress decide on how to move forward on the second trial for Trump after the House voted last week to impeach him for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol while Congress was certifying the electoral college votes. The trial could consume the Senate’s time during the opening weeks of the Biden administration with few members of his cabinet confirmed.

Psaki said reporters should expect the briefings to keep coming — she plans for them to be daily, just not on weekends.


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