Shortly after Earnest took the podium in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, President Obama entered and offered up praise of his third and final press secretary. The president said he was initially stricken by Earnest's "all American" good look when they met in Iowa, and said he had a "face made for television." But, the president also said he has always felt Earnest to be a man of integrity.
"What struck me most in addition to his smarts and maturity and actual interest in the issues was is integrity," Obama said Tuesday. "There are people you meet who, you have a pretty good inkling off the bat, are straight shooters."
Obama added, "he is not only a great press secretary, he is a really, really good man."
Earnest participated in, by some counts, his 354th press briefing on Tuesday. The topics ranged from the presidential transition to the involvement of Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Earnest also confirmed reports that the Obamas would be going on vacation in Palm Springs, Calif. after the inauguration of Donald Trump. He would not, however, say how long they'll be saying.
The press secretary was also pressed on the future of the briefing, given statements by the incoming administration that they'd consider either moving the briefing out of the James Brady Press Briefing room or changing the way it is handled. Earnest said he had advised incoming Press Secretary Sean Spicer to engage with the White House Correspondents' Association and added that while press access may be "uncomfortable" at times, "it's important."