Fallon: Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Psaki: Thank you for having me. I’m on “The Tonight Show.” I’m kind of freaking out. Hi, Mom.
[ Laughter ]
Fallon: Yeah. This is exciting. You’re joining MSNBC pretty soon, in the fall. I mean, we’re gonna be neighbors.
Psaki: We are.
Fallon: Yeah, congratulations on —
Psaki: Do you have any tips for me?
Fallon: No. I have none. For you? No. You tell me how to do it, please. Congrats. Are you excited? Are you nervous? Do you know what you’re gonna do?
Psaki: I’m so excited. I mean, there’s so much going on in the world it turns out, right?
Psaki: Lot of news to talk about.
Psaki: And I’m gonna be joining MSNBC at a time where there’s a big midterm election, lot of things to explain to the American people, and joining this great team that’s already doing that. So, I’m excited. I’m thrilled. I’m ready to get started after I have a little time to simmer.
Fallon: Yeah. When will you start? Around? Do we have a date? September? Somewhere around there?
Psaki: I’m starting in September.
Psaki: And, again, midterm elections. Exciting time. Lots going on.
Fallon: You know, you just — you just wrapped up your job as President Biden’s White House Press Secretary two weeks ago.
Psaki: I did.
Fallon: I have to say, you did a fantastic job.
Psaki: Thank you.
Fallon: Really great job, and that must be a tough, tough gig.
Psaki: It is. The secret is that it’s the best job I’ve ever had to date. And I loved it. I mean, if I were to wake up – sometimes I have these nightmares, I don’t know if this happens to you – where you’re a surgeon or you have to do brain surgery or something like that, and I wake up in a cold sweat. If I had to do something like that, I would freak out. But being at the podium, explaining difficult things to the public, that was fun to me. It was great. I learned something new every day. I got to call people up who were the experts on things. Jake Sullivan and Brian Deese and all these people, who knew so much, and I learned something new every day. It was fantastic.
Fallon: I wanted to get your perspective on the catastrophic mass school shooting that happened yesterday. Obviously we’re all shaken by this, but how does the White House handle events of this type?
Psaki: Yeah, I was – I have two little kids. I know you have kids I think that are a little older than my kids.
Fallon: Second and third grade.
Psaki: Second and third grade. Mine are in kindergarten and preschool. And the first reaction I had when I saw the news was shock, of course, and I’m sure this is what they were feeling in the White House too. And sadness. You know, that kind of sadness that you get when your throat feels like it’s – if you talk you’re gonna cry, that kind of sadness. And then you feel fear. And I think like so many parents across the country, I was thinking about sending my daughter to kindergarten today and is she safe, is she okay there, what kind of security do they have, should they have security. And those are the kind of thoughts that are going through your head when you’re in the White House too, because you’re thinking about what the country’s experiencing, what communities are experiencing, and what you can do to help heal, help bring some calm if you can in that moment.
Fallon: Did you hear President Biden’s remarks?
Psaki: I did. I did.
Fallon: Did you watch them last night?
Psaki: Yes, I did. Yeah. I did, and I think what people saw who watched or saw clips later on was somebody who knows what it’s like to lose a child and knows what it’s like to have part of your soul and part of your heart ripped out, and that’s what he talked about a little bit last night. And watching it, I was thinking – I was looking at his face and watching kind of the crinkles in his eyes and the emotions, and I was looking at Dr. Biden behind him, and thinking these are people who know that pain. It doesn’t make it heal it for other people, but they understand what it is and it impacts how they live their lives and how they govern.
Fallon: And do you think that is going to do something finally? Are people going to – is it change- is change coming? What can people do besides vote and volunteer? I mean, what do you think? It’s awful.
Psaki: This is a common question that people ask me, and I think the most important thing for people to know is nobody’s powerless in this moment. Everybody has a voice. Everybody can use that voice in many ways. Yes, you can vote. You can also get involved in a lot of organizations. There are amazing organizations fighting for gun reform out there. And that’s another way to get involved. And nobody is powerless. What I would also say that I learned from working in the White House and working in government is that you have to always have hope. You have to always think that change is possible and that maybe it’s not gonna happen next month or next year, I don’t know, but what happens when you have tragedies like the one in Texas, is it jerks people awake in a lot of ways. I mean, guns are the biggest — they kill more kids every year than anything else. That’s a fact. There are more guns in this country than there are people in this country, and those type of details jerk people awake, and that’s sometimes when change happens.
Fallon: Yeah. I appreciate you giving us your thoughts. Thank you so much, and good luck on your new gig over at MSNBC.
Psaki: I appreciate it.
Fallon: Jen Psaki, everybody.