Jen Psaki Reveals How She Really Felt About Fox’s Peter Doocy

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Jen Psaki might not be President Joe Biden’s press secretary anymore, but there are some memories of the White House Press Briefing Room that you just can’t shake.

Almost exactly two years after departing the position and taking up a gig at MSNBC, people still ask about her frostiest relationships with the room’s regulars. To this day, one name that constantly resurfaces is Peter Doocy, who proved one of the banes of Psaki’s tenure as Fox News’ White House correspondent.

His name was dropped once again at a recent forum hosted by The Ankler, where media executive Janice Min brought up the fact that Psaki discussed Doocy at length in her book, Say More: Lessons from Work, the White House, and the World, which hit shelves this month.

“You talk in the book about how Peter Doocy, son of Fox and Friends’ Steve Doocy, was a constant thorn in your side in the press room,” Min prompted.

But Psaki demurred. “People often ask me, ‘How much did you hate that guy?’ And I’m always like, ‘No, I didn’t hate him at all,’” she said.

“I feel like it would be a real mind-bend to work for Fox. It feels like a traumatizing experience he has to live through every day.”

The 45-year-old went on to observe that Doocy’s line of questioning was “quite predictable” every day, saying that if Fox News hosts had gone on the air to fearmonger about illegal migrants earlier that day, Doocy was likely to tee up a question about immigration.

“So I didn’t see it as necessarily winning the argument with him as much as using it as a forum to provide what our points were, right?” Psaki said. “When I came in, we followed Trump and an administration that was like: ‘Inject bleach, you’re all liars, we hate the media.’ So there was a very low bar for me.”

Psaki could often be seen visibly bristling at Doocy’s questions from behind the White House press lectern, with their testy back-and-forths often going viral. She once referred to him in an interview on “Pod Save America” in 2022 as “a stupid son of a bitch” being puppeteered by his network overlords. (A Fox News representative retorted at the time that Doocy was a “terrific reporter” trying “to elicit truth from power for the American public.”)

But their relationship was not always so adversarial, with Psaki telling Mediate in 2021 that they were “entirely professional” outside the briefing room. “There’s a performative component from the TV side of the briefing room,” she explained.

Even from within the room, Psaki sometimes offered Doocy terse but lighthearted compliments, saying she liked his mask or the socks he’d chosen to wear that day, even as she was shooting down whatever question he’d just posed.

At one May 2022 briefing, after Psaki announced to the White House press corps that she would be departing the Biden administration, she called on Doocy, who told her he was “sorry to see you go.”

“Are you?” Psaki shot back, giving him a sidelong glance. She broke into a grin as the other reporters in the room laughed.

“Yes, and you’ve always been a good sport,” Doocy replied. “So on behalf of everybody, thank you for everything.”

“Thank you,” Psaki said. “As have you.”

The pair kept the love-fest going after the briefing, with Doocy posting a photo of them posing alongside one another to his social media accounts. “End of an era in the Brady briefing room!” he wrote.

Psaki did not repost the photo herself, but admitted at a media event around that time that she would miss her sometime enemy.

“I understand that he’s coming there to ask questions every day that are important to report in the outlet he works for, and I respect that,” she explained to the moderator. “We have healthy debates and discussions. Doesn’t mean I agree with his line of questioning on most days.”

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