Jen Psaki Says She's Leaving White House Job for Her Kids, Ages 4 and 6: 'I Don't Want to Miss Moments'

“They're the most important people in my life,” the outgoing press secretary says, adding that she’ll be able to attend her children’s “soccer practices or ballet recitals”

Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty

Outgoing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has two very good reasons for leaving "the greatest job" she says she's ever had: her two young children.

"I'm leaving because I have a four-year-old and a six-year-old. They're the most important people in my life. And my husband, of course, and I always knew that having worked in the White House before, that this was not a job I could do forever," Psaki told Fox News' Howie Kurtz on Sunday's episode of Media Buzz.

"It is a huge honor to do it, no matter where you are in your life," Psaki, 43, continued. "But I don't want to miss things with my kids and I don't want to miss moments or soccer practices or ballet recitals or anything."

In 2010, Psaki married Gregory Mecher, a Democratic political aide who's reportedly been a chief of staff for former Reps. Steve Driehaus and Joe Kennedy III.

Psaki began her role heading President Joe Biden's women-led communications team when he began his presidential term on Jan. 20, 2021. She is reportedly taking a job at MSNBC and Peacock.

Her colleague, Karine Jean-Pierre, will take over at the podium later this month as the next press secretary.

"Of course, it's hard," she said of the role. "This is the greatest job I've ever had. Maybe the greatest job I [will] ever have. I don't know. And it has surpassed my expectations in so many ways in that I've learned something new every single day."

Psaki said in 2021 she would remain a year at the job, citing her desire not to "miss moments" with her children, but noted she had "flexibility."

Biden is known to be supportive of his staffers' work-life balance, insisting in a 2014 memo that people who work from him make family a priority.

"I do not expect nor do I want any of you to miss or sacrifice important family obligations for work," reads the missive, dated Nov. 7, 2014. "Family obligations include but are not limited to family birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, any religious ceremonies such as first communions and bar mitzvahs, graduations, and times of need such as illness or loss in the family. This is very important to me."

Psaki told Kurtz she enjoyed working for the Biden White House because of "the policy people I work with and the experts."

"But a lot of it also has to do with the journalists I interact with and the way they ask questions and what they're asking about," she said.

One of Psaki's frequent sparring partners during her daily press briefings, Fox News' Peter Doocy, told the press secretary Thursday he was "sorry to see you go."

As she prepares for her next professional chapter, Psaki said she's been careful to walk the ethical line as she transitions from her job representing the White House to being a member of the news media.

"I hold myself to a very high ethical standard," Psaki said on Media Buzz. "I took steps and have taken steps as I've had any discussions with any future employer that go over and above any requirements by government recusing myself from any discussions as well. And I'm proud of that."

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