Jen Psaki slams Newsmax reporter for yelling questions after briefings end

Clip: White House press secretary offers reporter from right-wing TV outlet some unsolicited advice

By Zachary Petrizzo

Published September 28, 2021 1:13PM (EDT)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki (Getty Images)
White House press secretary Jen Psaki (Getty Images)

White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki has apparently had enough of Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson's tendency to continue shouting additional questions after White House press briefings have concluded.

On Monday afternoon, near the conclusion of the daily White House briefing — which has become a "circus" of late, according to one veteran White House reporter — Psaki doubled down on the administration's criticism of the "horrific" behavior of some U.S. Border Patrol agents in their handling of Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

"I don't think anyone could look at those photos and think that was appropriate action or behavior or something that should be accepted within our administration. There's an investigation. That's ongoing. We'll let that play out," the press secretary said. "But our reaction to the photos has not changed." 

That was the end of the briefing — except apparently not for Robinson, the accredited corresponded for far-right cable news channel Newsmax. 

"Thank you, everyone," said Psaki. An unidentified reporter responded, "Thank you, Jen," making clear that the briefing was over. 

Robinson kept going, calling out, "I have a question. On the polling. The president's polling continues to collapse ..." but got no further. 

"Emerald, I know you like to shout at the end," Psaki responded. "Next time, we'll do it during the briefing."

As Psaki departed, briefing book in hand, Robinson made one more try: "Well, if you'd call on me..." 

"Thank you so much," Psaki said on her way out with the door.

For her part, Robinson appeared to be pleased with the aftermath of the encounter when down, responding to a video of the exchange by stating, "223,000 views and counting." Robinson also received words of encouragement from Newsmax primetime host Greg Kelly, who wrote, "WOW! PressSec ("Jennifer") really SUCKS at being PressSec." 


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Psaki's online fans, who refer to her as "#PsakiBomb," naturally believed she had emerged unscathed. But Monday's minor scuffle highlights a challenge that the White House press office continues to face under Biden: rogue right-wing White House reporters, including some with dubious qualifications. 

As Salon reported last week, Psaki and her team have also wrestled with how to handle eccentric Christian White House reporter Matthew Anthony Harper, who does not appear for a reputable news agency of any kind. Nevertheless, Harper continues to call for an investigation into both "upper" and "lower" press officials in the Biden White House, against whom he has made highly unspecific allegations of wrongdoing. 

Watch the exchange between Robinson and Psaki below, via YouTube


Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo is an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo. Send him tips: zpetrizzo@salon.com

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