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Jen Psaki CLASHES with Chris Wallace over Biden being ’sheltered’ from press in heated moment on CNN+: White House Press Secretary also explains why she sobbed over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

  Press Secretary   Jen Psaki   clashed with   CNN + host Chris Wallace on Wednesday night when the veteran news anchor grilled the White Ho...

 Press Secretary Jen Psaki clashed with CNN+ host Chris Wallace on Wednesday night when the veteran news anchor grilled the White House official over President Joe Biden's lack of sit-down press interviews.

Psaki's nearly half hour-long interview with Wallace was largely uncontentious, especially when compared to her exchanges with Wallace's ex-colleagues at his former network, Fox News.

The press secretary opened up about some of her most notable -- and controversial  -- moments in the briefing room, and discussed her headline-making tears over Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill she shed during a recent podcast interview.  

Her boss, however, has had far fewer drawn-out media appearances. Though Biden often stops to answer reporters' shouted questions while traveling to and from events, the president has only had one sit-down interview this year so far.

He's also participated in fewer press conferences during his first year in office, holding just nine joint or solo such events. Donald Trump held 21 and Barack Obama 27 during their first years, according to The American Presidency Project.

'Why has President Biden been so sheltered from the press?' Wallace asked Psaki on Wednesday. 

Psaki challenged, 'In what way?'

'He just did a press conference several weeks ago. He takes questions from the press nearly every day,' she defended.

Chris Wallace grilled the White House press secretary on President Biden's lack of scheduled media appearances
Psaki defended her boss by equating sit-down interviews and elongated press conferences with his frequent stops to answer shouted questions from reporters

Chris Wallace grilled the White House press secretary on President Biden's lack of scheduled media appearances, and countered her attempts to equate interviews and press conferences with answering shouted questions from the White House press corps

Wallace pointed out that Biden has sat down for 28 reporter interviews during the same time span Trump did 95 and Obama even more at 162, but Psaki countered he was 'leaving out' the times he's stopped for impromptu chats with White House reporters.  

'Nearly every day at the White House, he takes questions from the White House press corps,' she said.

Wallace began, 'Yeah but Jen --'

'Two questions three questions eight questions,' Psaki continued saying over the CNN+ host. 'So why is that different?'

Wallace, who spent more than a decade early in his career as a White House correspondent, challenged: 'I'll tell you exactly why that's different, because when you're standing there, you can take a question. You can answer it, you can slough it off and you can move on.'

'And oftentimes, he gives a partial answer and walks away. It in no way compares to sitting down with a reporter for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and having -- you can't move away, you can duck it, you've got to sit there and answer the question and the follow up. It's not the same thing,' he finished.

Psaki asked him to 'agree to disagree.'

Elsewhere in the interview, she reflected on a podcast interview released earlier this week during which the senior Biden official was brought to tears by the wave of anti-LGBTQI+ youth legislation being passed in Republican-led states. 

Jen Psaki cries on podcast discussing Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' ban
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Speaking to the News Not Noise podcast on Tuesday, Psaki denounced the 'political games and harsh and cruel attempts at laws that we're seeing in some states like Florida.'

The Sunshine State recently passed a new Parental Rights In Education law banning public school staff and teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, and in a matter that is 'developmentally appropriate' for all other ages. 

Psaki said Tuesday that the bill could stop children with LGBTQI parents from talking about their 'loving' family lives.

'I'm going to get emotional about this issue -- because it's horrible,' she said, beginning to cry. 

'But it's like kids who are bullied and all these leaders are taking steps to hurt them and hurt their lives and hurt their families. And you look at some of these laws in these states and it's going after parents who are in loving relationships who have kids. It's completely outrageous.' 

Biden has held nine press conferences during his first year in office, compared to 21 by Trump and even more by Obama

Biden has held nine press conferences during his first year in office, compared to 21 by Trump and even more by Obama

Psaki added: 'Sorry, this is an issue that makes me completely crazy.' 

She excused it as a moment of issue-driven 'passion' during her interview with CNN+ on Wednesday, reaffirming her stance that Florida's law is 'morally wrong.'

'I will say that many of us who have served as long as I have in public service...we're passionate about issues, we're passionate about what we think is right,' Psaki explained.

'I personally think that these laws in states like Florida are morally wrong and that they are targeting kids and they're targeting families, and we know statistically that transgender kids are bullied. We know that they have a tough time already.'

The issue 'hit me in my heart as a parent,' Psaki said, 'And somebody who wants all kids to be treated equally and be given kind of a loving chance by society.'

'Yes I had a reaction, because I'm a human being, like we all are.'

Elsewhere in the interview, Psaki admitted that sarcastically asking a reporter whether COVID-19 tests should be sent to 'every American' during a nationwide testing shortage and a winter virus surge last year was not one of her 'better moments.'

Psaki was widely criticized for a testy exchange with an NPR reporter who asked why the U.S.'s COVID testing infrastructure lacked the efficiency of those in Germany or South Korea.

'Should we just send one to every American?' she answered. 

The reporter said 'maybe,' to which Psaki said: 'Then what happens if you — if every American has one test? How much does that cost, and then what happens after that?'

'What I will say -- and I do not think that was one of my better moments -- is that I learned that you always need to include context,' Psaki reflected on Wednesday. 

'You are not when you're in the White House briefing.. you are not having a conversation at a dinner party, or a bar, or with a friend. You always need to provide context and as many details as possible.'

She also refused to discuss a reported contract in the works to join MSNBC, citing ethical concerns.

'I have not set any date of departure yet,' Psaki said.

Pressed about alleged talks with the left-leaning network, Psaki said she had 'nothing to announce' 

I'm going to sleep at some point when I leave, I'm going to read some fiction books, I'm going to spend time with my family,' the official said.    

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