While serving as one of the nations most visible public figures would have been a harrowing task for some.
“I have no regrets whatsoever,” said former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during a San Antonio visit on Thursday, Oct. 9.
His talk, titled “The Daily Briefing,” was the first installment of Trinity University’s Policy Maker Breakfast Series.
Speaking on issues such the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Ebola, a Secret Service prostitution scandal and the upcoming midterm elections, Carney discussed current events from the point of view of Washington’s biggest insiders.
Carney served the Obama Administration as press secretary from 2011 until May of this year. As the top aide to President Obama, he was highly involved in decision-making and played a crucial role in managing the White House’s image during times of unpopularity. He was also involved in delivering historic news during times of victory. Following the assassination of Osama bin Laden, Carney’s job was to prepare the President to deliver the report to the American people.
According to Carney, working in the White House was an experience, “like none other.” He said that nothing quite compared to being in the center of change, and indeed the only experience that came close was being on the streets of Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union.
Carney was often at the center of immense change. As the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, he was on board Air Force One with then President George W. Bush.
Carney experienced these pivotal historic moments during his career as a journalist for TIME magazine where he worked for 20 years. He eventually left TIME in 2008 to work as Vice President Joe Biden’s communication director.
Since leaving the White House, Carney has remained in the political spotlight.
On Oct. 8, information surfaced that suggests White House aides may have intentionally covered up a 2012 prostitution scandal in which Secret Service agents were accused of hiring Colombian prostitutes.
Two-dozen service members were fired or punished following news of the initial scandal, but, according to a Washington Post article, investigators may have been directed to delay reporting that information until after the 2012 elections.
“There was no proof,” claimed Carney of the allegations. “It’s unfortunate that the actions of a few have tarnished the reputation of an entire agency.”
Carney, a Democrat, also faced heat from former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain concerning the Obama Administration’s handling of ISIS. During an exchange on CNN, McCain claimed that the administration’s true error stemmed from prematurely withdrawing troops from Iraq.
“The goal of destroying ISIS creates expectations that are hard to meet,” Carney said during Thursday’s press conference. Rather than a land invasion, he claimed the best way to mitigate a potential threat is to enforce pressure on Islamic extremist groups and maintain a constant vigilance.
Lending his insight to domestic issues, Carney also addressed claims he made in early September that the 2014 midterm elections would not be a good year for Democrats.
“It’s inconceivable that Democrats won’t lose some seats in the senate,” Carney said stating there is a fifty-fifty chance that the senate could be under Republican control after the November elections. “To say otherwise would be ignoring what’s happening.”
On whether or not this resurgence in Republican popularity could affect the Texas gubernatorial race, Carney admitted that he had not kept up with Texas elections but that there are states where national trends don’t apply.
Currently, Carney is a political commentator for CNN and plans to remain a public figure in the media.
On Dec. 2, Trinity University will host Gen. Keith Alexander of the U.S. Army as the next speaker in their Policy Maker Breakfast Series. Alexander, who served as commander on U.S. Cyber Command from 2010-2014 will lead a talk titled “Is Anything Really Private?”
Click here for a full list of 2014-2015 speakers.