Jennifer Rene Psaki is an American political advisor who serves in the Biden administration as the 34th White House press secretary. Previously, she served as the spokesperson for the United States Department of State and held various senior press and communications roles in the Obama White House. She has also been a CNN contributor.
Early life and education
Psaki was born in Stamford, Connecticut, to James R. Psaki and Eileen Dolan Medvey. Her father is a retired real estate developer, and her mother is a psychotherapist. She is of Irish, Greek, and Polish descent. She graduated from Greenwich High School in 1996. In 2000, she graduated from the College of William & Mary with a degree in English and sociology. She is a member of the Chi Omega sorority. At William & Mary, Psaki was a competitive backstroke swimmer for the William & Mary Tribe athletic team for two years.
Psaki began her career in 2001 with the re-election campaigns of Iowa Democrats Tom Harkin for the U.S. Senate and Tom Vilsack for governor. Psaki then became deputy press secretary for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. From 2005 to 2006, Psaki served as communications director to U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley and regional press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. senator Barack Obama, Psaki served as traveling press secretary. After Obama won the election, Psaki followed Obama to the White House as Deputy Press Secretary and was promoted to Deputy Communications Director on December 19, 2009. On September 22, 2011, Psaki left this position to become senior vice president and managing director at the Washington, D.C., office of public relations firm Global Strategy Group.
In 2012, Psaki returned to political communications as press secretary for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. On February 11, 2013, Psaki became spokesperson for the United States Department of State. Her hiring at the Department of State fueled speculation that she would replace White House press secretary Jay Carney when he left the White House, but, on May 30, 2014, it was announced that Josh Earnest would replace Carney. In 2015, she returned to the White House as communications director and stayed through the end of the Obama administration.
On February 7, 2017, Psaki began working as a political commentator on CNN.
In November 2020, Psaki left CNN and joined the Biden-Harris transition team. Later that month, Psaki was named as the White House press secretary for the Biden administration. She held her first press briefing in the evening of January 20, after the inauguration.
In 2010, Psaki married Gregory Mecher, a deputy finance director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They have two children.