White House press secretary Jen Psaki has revealed she was in the Oval Office when Joe Biden read predecessor Donald Trump’s outgoing letter.
“It was long, it was very long,” she said during a podcast with west wing actor Rob Lowe, who played a speechwriter on the popular political series.
Ms. Psaki recalled that first day in the White House, telling Biden the press would likely ask about the traditional letter left by the outgoing president.
“And he said, ‘Oh, did he leave me a letter,’ and I was like, do I tell him he left a letter? I don’t know OK,” he said. she recalls. “So I said, I think so. I think, I think that’s what happened. So he kind of looked for the letter.”
Mr. Biden found the letter in the drawer of the Resolute Desk, according to reports by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their book, Peril. They added that Mr Biden had put the letter in his pocket, without sharing its contents, before “his attention turned to the virus”.
Ms Psaki recalled Mr Biden reading the lengthy missive in silence as she waited, ‘which was just kind of a remarkable moment’
“No, he didn’t read it out loud. He read it to himself. And he’s such a classy guy,” she said. “He didn’t even convey it to us at the time of what the letter said, he kind of read the letter, consumed it himself.”
What she saw, however, was the handwriting. “The script from where I could see was very beautiful, but I don’t know what was in the letter,” she added.
Mr Biden declined to reveal the contents of the letter, saying only that it was “very generous” while adding that he would not speak about the private letter unless he discussed it with Mr Trump first. .
Mr. Trump himself has said in interviews that it was up to Mr. Biden to reveal all the details.
“I basically wished him well and, you know, it was a few pages long and it was from the bottom of my heart because I want to see him do well,” Mr. Trump said last year in an interview with Lisa Booth.
After telling the podcast host he was sincere in wishing Mr Biden well, Mr Trump quickly moved on to unproven claims that Mr Biden was not legitimately elected.
“Look, there he is. It was a rigged election, an election that you know, I would never concede and by the way, Hillary Clinton said he should never concede. Hillary Clinton, the things she said were so awful,” Trump said. .
“But you know what, he’s here, and I want him to do well.”
The letter will eventually enter the public records of the National Archives and Records Administration under the Presidential Records Act.