If there’s one thing we have learned throughout the Trump administration it’s that, given the media’s irascible behavior, press briefings are no walk in the park.
During her inaugural podium briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not disappoint, handling her former colleagues in the media with grace and ease.
Not only was this the first briefing held by McEnany since she assumed office, but it is the first podium briefing the White House has had in over a year.
“I will never lie to you. You have my word on that,” she told reporters and the American people.
“I am consistently with [Trump], absorbing his thinking, and it’s my mission to bring you the mindset of the president and deliver those facts.”
During her half hour behind the podium, McEnany tackled many pressing and controversial issues in the media today, including China, General Flynn, Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden, and even the media coverage itself.
Concise, thoughtful, and well prepared from @kayleighmcenany.
— Raheem J. Kassam (@RaheemKassam) May 1, 2020
As regards China, the Press Secretary criticized how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) handled the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It’s no secret that China mishandled the situation,” she asserted, explaining how China “shut down the lab for ‘rectification,’ they’ve slow-walked information on a human to human transmission alongside the World Health Organization, and didn’t let the U.S. investigators in at a very important time.” McEnany added how China “did not share the genetic sequence [of the virus] until a professor in Shanghai did so on his own.”
“So we take displeasure with China’s actions,” she concluded.
China is not the only one with whom McEnany expressed ‘displeasure’.
“There is a case of injustice that has yet to be brought up today, and I certainly would like to bring it up… What we’ve all learned from [General Flynn’s case] should scare every American citizen,” she said, as new evidence is coming to light that not only exonerates the former Trump advisor but incriminates former top ranking FBI officials, such as James Comey and Andrew McCabe.
Outlining the case, McEnany explained: “You had Jim Comey admitting in December of last year that he violated a protocol by directing agents to confront Flynn, something that he ‘wouldn’t have gotten away with under previous administrations.’ The FBI told Flynn he didn’t need a lawyer when they came to meet with him. McCabe told FBI agents that he didn’t think Flynn was lying.”
“And all of that information we’ve learned over the last few months and years culminates in the fact that we have a handwritten FBI note that says ‘we need to get Flynn to lie and get him fired.’”
“There was an unfair target on the back of General Michael Flynn.” She reaffirmed: “It should concern every American anytime there’s a partisan pursuit of an individual, and…at least those questions are raised with regard to General Michael Flynn, an honorable man who served his country.”
McEnany pushed back on the Democrats for similarly treating Justice Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court nomination when asked about the President saying Reade’s allegation against Biden is “far more compelling with anything they had with respect to Brett Kavanaugh.”
“I think it was a grave miscarriage of justice what happened with Justice Brett Kavanaugh.,” she said. “There’s no need for me to bring up some of the salacious, awful, and un-verifiably false allegations that were made against Justice Kavanaugh.”
Moreover she declared that it “was an embarrassment for the Democrat party to have dragged the name of a very respectable man through the mud like that.”
True Statement by @PressSec pic.twitter.com/FoPWBdyd9d
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 1, 2020
The Press Secretary also responded directly to the sexual assault allegations against 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
“[The White House is] pleased the former vice president has decided to go on the record,” she said. “It took him, what, less than 16 hours to follow the advice of the president and go on record and publicly address those claims.”
Reporters in the room quickly pivoted from Biden to Trump when it came to sexual assault allegations.
“The President has swiftly denied all of these allegations that were raised four years ago,” McEnany responded to a question about past accusations made against the President.
.@PressSec @KayleighMcEnany: "Leave it to the media to really take an issue about the former Vice President and turn it on the President." pic.twitter.com/QViKObE3b6
— The Hill (@thehill) May 1, 2020
“He has always told the truth on these issues, he’s denied them immediately, and you’re bringing up issues, like I said, from four years ago that were asked and answered. And the American people had their say on the matter when they elected President Trump as President of the United States.”
“Leave it to the media to really take an issue about the former Vice President and turn it on the President,” she pushed back.
Many including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former Press Secretary under President Trump, took to Twitter during and after the briefing to praise the new Press Secretary on her debut.
“Proud of my friend Kayleigh for doing a great job in her first briefing,” Sanders wrote. “It’s one of the toughest but most rewarding parts of the job and she handled it with confidence and grace. Well done @PressSec!”
Proud of my friend Kayleigh for doing a great job in her first briefing. It’s one of the toughest but most rewarding parts of the job and she handled it with confidence and grace. Well done @PressSec!
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) May 1, 2020
McEnany “crushed it,” Jason Miller, Communications Director for the 2016 Trump campaign, said.
He outlined all the ‘rules’ for Trump’s communications strategy – all of which she hit: “1) Tell the truth. 2) Don’t speculate. 3) Give [Trump] flexibility & don’t box him in. 4) Drive [Trump’s] positives even if question [sic] doesn’t allow for it. 5) Turn stupid questions back on the questioner. 6) Be likeable, stay cool!”