Josh Earnest Takes His Final Bow, Receives Surprise Visit

WASHINGTON – (NewsBlaze) After 354 times taking fire from reporters in the White House Press Corps, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest ended his tenure on Tuesday as the spokesman to the president. He began his final briefing by telling the Press Corps that the last thing he thought in January 2001 on a West Wing tour was that he would eventually hold one of the most politically important jobs in Washington, D.C.

“It was January, 2001. I had just moved to Washington, D.C., and I got on a West Wing tour with a friend of a friend. We walked through the halls of the West Wing on that tour. We saw tired White House staffers lugging boxes of their personal belongings out of the building, much the way that people who are on West Wing tours today see. And on the tour, I smiled for a photo that a friend took of me standing behind this very podium,” Earnest remarked.

He went on to say, “So it’s fair to say that there weren’t too many other people on the tour that night who thought I would stand here in front of you as something other than a tourist. So it’s been an extraordinary journey, and this has been an extraordinary chapter.”

Indeed the 39 year old Kansas City, Missouri native who assumed the role of White House Spokesman in June of 2014 has had his ups and downs serving as the mouthpiece to Barack Obama. Earnest began his D.C. political career with the Presidential campaign of former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, before joining on with Obama. Many of those experiences he recounted at the beginning of Tuesday’s briefing.

“Not every briefing started exactly on time. There might have been a briefing or two that went a little longer than you would have preferred. But you had to admit there was a lot to discuss. We had plenty of shameless plugs for the Kansas City Royals to squeeze in. There was, of course, the Freedom Caucus’ infamous Tortilla Coast gambit. There was Congressman Steve Scalise who reportedly compared himself favorably to David Duke. There was the reintroduction of the word ‘snafu’ into the political lexicon as we were working to pass TPA,” Earnest stated.

Earnest did have one extremely stressful moment as White House Press Secretary that Newsblaze reported in January of 2015, when President Obama failed to send a senior administration representative to Paris in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

As Earnest said, “I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there.” The sounds of keyboards grew louder and reporters were able to see Earnest’s stress level rise.

Josh Earnest surprised by Obama.
Josh Earnest surprised by Obama at his final briefing.

Transparency Redefined

Government transparency experts found major shortfalls in the Obama Administration’s ability to provide the public information such as 130,000 lost FOIA requests which numbered one out of every six. The Obama White House even under the tenure of Josh Earnest earned from the New York Times reporter Jill Abramson the designation “This is the most secretive White House I have ever dealt with.”

Obama’s administration was at times so opaque that The White House Correspondents’ Association even drafted a statement of Principles to hold the White House accountable.

However, during Josh Earnest’s last briefing Jeff Mason, the Reuters White House Correspondent and current head of the correspondents’ association, was complimentary of Earnest.

“On behalf of the White House Correspondents’ Association, we want to thank you for your commitment to regular briefings with us. We haven’t always agreed on everything, and there has always been some tension, which is normal between a White House and the press corps that covers it, but we are grateful to you and your team for working with the Correspondents Association and for your commitment to dealing with us on a daily basis. So, thank you,” Mason remarked.

Earnest’s send off on Tuesday also included a visit from the the President before taking the first question, who recounted the first meeting with his future spokesman.

“When I first met Josh Earnest, he was in Iowa. I think he was wearing jeans. He looked even younger than he was. And since my entire campaign depended on communications in Iowa, I gave him a pretty good once-over. And there are a couple things I learned about him right away. Number one, he’s just got that all-American, matinee, good-looking thing going. That’s helpful. Let’s face it – a face made for television. Then the guy’s name is Josh Earnest which if somebody is speaking on your behalf is a pretty good name to have,” Obama said.

Earnest told reporters that he will be working up to 5 pm on January 19th at his desk in the White House. He was then asked if he would consider whether to run for office in Missouri.

“Well, what I can tell you is that I know that there are a lot of talented young Missourians who are Democrats who should not be overlooked. And I’ve certainly been in touch with some of them, and I think there’s a bright future for Democrats in Missouri, but at this point I’m not planning to be one of them,” said Josh Earnest.

Earnest did say that he will be keeping an eye on his successor, Sean Spicer, when the noon time press briefing comes on.

“And yeah, I’m interested in what happens here, and I’ll continue to follow it. But I will be relieved to not have the burden to follow it as closely as this job has required over the last two-and-a-half years,” Earnest said.

Randy Foreman is the NewsBlaze White House Correspondent, reporting from inside and outside The White House and around the beltway in Washington, D.C.