Fox News' Peter Doocy and Outgoing Press Secretary Jen Psaki Share Pleasantries Before Testy Exchange

"You've always been a good sport," Doocy told Psaki before asking questions about President Joe Biden's views on abortion and protest

Jen Psaki and Peter Doocy
Photo: getty (2)

They've made headlines for their terse exchanges, but outgoing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Fox News' Peter Doocy shared a kind moment in the briefing room on Thursday.

"Thank you Jen. Sorry to see you go," Doocy said when he was called on after Psaki announced that her colleague Karine Jean-Pierre will take over at the podium later this month as the next press secretary.

"Are you?" Psaki, 43, replied, grinning and prompting laughter from the other journalists in the room.

"Yes, and you've always been a good sport," Doocy said. "So on behalf of everybody, thank you for everything."

"Thank you," Psaki said. "As have you."

Doocy, 34, also welcomed Jean-Pierre, who will become the first Black and first openly gay woman to take on the role.

"I can't wait to see you up there, Karine," he said, prompting more laughter.

Then, Doocy and Psaki returned to their usual repartee when he asked about people protesting the Supreme Court in the wake of a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn decisions that guarantee women's right to an abortion nationwide.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 3, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

When Doocy pushed for President Joe Biden's opinion on the possibility that protestors would show up in residential neighborhoods, Psaki said, "Peter, look, I think our view here is that peaceful protest— there's a long history in the United States and the country of that. And we certainly encourage people to keep it peaceful and not resort to any level of violence."

"So he doesn't care if they're protesting outside the Supreme Court or outside someone's private residence?" Doocy asked.

"I don't have an official U.S. government position on where people protest. We want it, of course, to be peaceful," Psaki replied. "And certainly, the president would want people's privacy to be respected. But I think we shouldn't lose the point here: The reason people are protesting is because women across the country are worried about their fundamental rights that have been law for 50 years. Their rights to make choices about their own bodies and their own health care are at risk. That's why people are protesting. They're unhappy. They're scared."

When Doocy asked about Biden's position on abortion, Psaki said, "Peter, the president has talked about his position many times. He supports the right of a woman to make choices about her own body with her doctor."

As he's done before, Doocy pressed for more on the president's position.

Peter Doocy
Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy at the White House. Fox News

"The president has spoken about this many times, Peter," Psaki replied. "I would refer you to his own comments about abortion and a woman's right to choose and make decisions about her body with her doctor, which is what any of those women would do."

Psaki has said previously that she and Doocy are cordial when the cameras are off.

"My engagement with him, people don't always see this, but outside the briefing room, it is entirely professional and entirely, hopefully, responsive," Psaki said in an interview last summer. "There's a performative component from the TV side of the briefing room."

President Biden praised Psaki for her service Thursday as she reportedly prepares to take a job at MSNBC — though no official announcement has been made.

"Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room," the president said in a statement. "I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward."

Updated by
Aaron Parsley

Aaron Parsley has been a part of PEOPLE's digital team for more than 15 years.

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