It’s not uncommon for presidents to churn through multiple press secretaries during their administration. Barack Obama had three between 2009 and 2017, for instance, while George W. Bush had five during his two terms. Donald Trump employed four different secretaries (Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders, Stephanie Grisham, and Kayleigh McEnany, who never told a lie — which was, in fact, a lie) in his four years in the White House, but unlike his predecessors and his successor, they rarely did their job.
At one point, the Trump administration went an unprecedented 300-plus days without a formal briefing. To put that into perspective, Jen Psaki, who left her post as Joe Biden’s press secretary on Friday, “held more formal press briefings in the past 15 months than former President Trump’s press secretaries held in four years,” according to Insider:
Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project, has kept meticulous records of the press briefings. Psaki has held 224 briefings as of Friday compared to the 205 formal briefings held by Trump’s press secretaries, according to Kumar’s tally.
“We were following an administration that did not do daily press briefings. It should be that this is a forum for people to ask difficult questions Monday through Friday,” Psaki said this week. (The current administration isn’t as forthcoming as it seems, though: Biden only gave 22 interviews during his first year in office, compared to 92 for Trump and 150 for Obama in their first 365 days.) Psaki, who will be replaced by Karine Jean-Pierre, took a job with MSNBC, where she’ll do the yelling instead of being yelled at.