Departing White House press secretary Jen Psaki details threats against her and her family
WASHINGTON – White House press secretary Jen Psaki says the hardest part of the job has not been the daily sparring with reporters but enduring threats against her and her family.
“I’ve had threats, I have had nasty letters, texts to me with my personal address, the names of my children,” Psaki told a group of reporters Thursday at a breakfast meeting sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.
“It crosses lines, and you know, that’s when it becomes a little scary,” she said.
Public officials across the country have reported an increasing number of threats over the past couple of years, with targets ranging from members of Congress and governors to even school board members and health care workers. Some experts worry the threats could even jeopardize the running of this year's midterm elections.
Threats and the midterms:Election workers faced new threats after 2020 election. Experts fear it will drive them away
Psaki, whose last day on the job is Friday, said there have been times when she has alerted the Secret Service about the threats. Psaki has two children, ages 4 and 6, and their safety “is a real concern for me,” she said.
Psaki said some of those who sent messages threatened show up at her house. No one has, she said, but she said her home address has been circulated among the Arlington Republican Party in Virginia.
The Arlington GOP responded in a statement to USA TODAY that it "has not publicly disseminated any Biden administration official's home address, unlike the hordes of progressive activists online who have disseminated the addresses of justices of the Supreme Court. Nor are we disseminating Ms. Psaki's home address among our membership."
As the most prominent face of President Joe Biden's administration, Psaki said she realizes that she is a public figure. “People can dislike me – that’s OK,” she said.
But threats against public figures are common, “and that is what should be alarming to people,” she said.
“It is a sign of the venom that we see out there in society,” Psaki said.
Psaki has not announced what she will do after she leaves the White House, but she has reportedly been in talks to join MSNBC.
She will be replaced as press secretary by Karine Jean-Pierre, currently the White House's principal deputy press secretary. Jean-Pierre will become the first Black woman and also first openly LGBTQ person to hold the high-profile position.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
More:Karine Jean-Pierre named new White House press secretary; Psaki departs May 13