White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest is usually answering questions from some of the country’s top journalists behind in podium, flanked by two American flags and the White House seal.
But on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, Earnest left his post in the Brady Briefing Room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and traveled across town to the SiriusXM studios for a special event aptly called “Debriefing White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest.” SiriusXM host and former White House correspondent Julie Mason hosted Earnest for a special one-on-one session with the man who speaks on behalf of President Obama.
During the interview, he reflected on his tenure in the role, talked about the future of his position and posed some crucial questions for the press.
“I’ve learned from this job is that I’m not going to get very far if I’m a media critic,” Earnest explained. “It’s appropriate for individual organizations to make their own decisions about how they should do their job, and how they should cover politicians and how they should hold people accountable. And they should do that without the government telling them what to do — even if that person just a spokesperson for the government, if you will.”
Earnest said he hopes the media is reflecting how they plan to cover the new administration, “given the unconventional approach that the president-elect has to interacting the media and the unconventional approach that he has taken to discussing some issues, including in a way that is not entirely consistent with objective facts.”
Referencing a tweet sent by President-elect Donald Trump alleging instances of illegal voting in states won by Hillary Clinton, Earnest added, “there’s no evidence to support that claim. There just isn’t — that’s not a criticism, that is a statement of objective fact. There is no evidence produced to substantiate that claim.”
“What are news organizations going to do about that?” Earnest asked of the media in their coverage of blatantly inaccurate statements. “How are they going to report on this claim? How are they going to report on the style and character of the president-elect?”
“These are all decisions that will be really, really, really, really important for the next four years,” Earnest added.
So, what’s next for White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest?
“This job’s a little all consuming, as you might expect, so there’s not as much time for reflection and a lot of contemplation about what you want to do with your life,” Earnest admitted to Julie Mason. “I don’t know if I will continue having politics as part of my career, but I’m always going to be interested in politics. And I’m always going to be interested in the political debate that is critical to the success of our country. So one way or another, I will find a way to be involved.”
And while they have known each other for more than 20 years, Earnest admitted something he had never told Mason before — he’s a SiriusXM subscriber. He revealed his car presets include ’90s on 9, The Highway and Y2Kountry.
“I also, occasionally, when I don’t really want to think about politics and this is often on my drive home, I listen to Comedy Central [Radio]. A little stand-up routine at the end of your day, can be very burden lifting,” joked Earnest.
The Press Pool with Julie Mason airs weekdays at 3 pm ET on SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. (Ch. 124)
Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for SiriusXM
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