By longstanding, bipartisan custom, a long time of White Home press secretaries have handed down a cheeky image of their job fielding rat-a-tat inquiries from feisty reporters: a flak jacket.

The ritual dates to the Seventies, when Gerald Ford’s press secretary, Ron Nessen, obtained a blue males’s brocade vest from reporters that featured a bulletproof lining. He left it for his successor with a note: “You’ll want this at a few of your briefings.”

In true Washington trend, a gag reward was a honored ritual. However the garment, which in later years was a dark-hued males’s blazer, would sometimes go lacking, usually between administrations.

So it was that Jen Psaki, on one in every of her last days as President Biden’s press secretary, discovered herself trawling a Macy’s in search of a substitute jacket. She discovered one, with a contemporary twist.

The brand new “flak jacket,” which now hangs in a West Wing workplace, is a girls’s Tommy Hilfiger blazer, measurement 16, in Hello-Liter yellow, with contrasting jetted pockets and elbow patches.

“It’s a girls’s jacket,” Ms. Psaki stated in an interview. “But it surely’s giant sufficient for any measurement man.”

The change appeared becoming.

Karine Jean-Pierre, who began on Monday as Ms. Psaki’s successor, is the fifth lady in a row to function White Home press secretary, a streak that started with Sarah Huckabee Sanders in 2017.

Till Invoice Clinton appointed Dee Dee Myers in 1993, the position had completely been occupied by males. Dana Perino served below George W. Bush, however Barack Obama named solely males to the job.

No jacket was awaiting Ms. Psaki when she began in January 2021; it was apparently misplaced within the tumult of a presidential transition.

“Jen is doing the workplace of the press secretary an actual service by changing a beautiful custom,” Ms. Perino wrote in an e-mail.

The subsequent step is restoring the handwritten notes from press secretaries previous, a compendium of recommendation, humor and sympathy that was apparently lost when the final jacket went lacking.

Ari Fleischer, who served as George W. Bush’s press secretary, stated in an interview that he saved copies of the notes, which had been supposedly wrapped in a purple ribbon and saved within the jacket’s pockets. He’s in contact with Ms. Psaki about reuniting the notes with their new, brightly coloured residence.

“It doesn’t matter what it seems like or what it’s manufactured from,” Mr. Fleischer stated of the jacket. “It should by no means work, as a result of there may be not sufficient safety for a press secretary from the White Home press corps.”