Kayleigh McEnany, the new White House Press Secretary took the podium for the first time on Friday. McEnany, who took over the position from Stephanie Grisham, was also holding the first White House press briefing in 417 days, as her predecessor never actually took the podium during her tenure.
Due to coronavirus, the White House Correspondents’ Association had the seating staggered to practice safe social distancing, the same method taken during President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force pressers in the James S. Brady briefing room.
While McEnany was warmly welcome by the media, one of the first questions asked, which came from reporter Jill Colvin from The Associated Press, pointedly asked the new White House Press Secretary if she would pledge to never lie to the media.
“I will never lie to you,” McEnany said. “You have my word on that.”
Unlike Trump’s press briefings over the past month, which sometimes lasted two hours, McEnany kept her meeting with reporters extremely brief. After taking a few rounds of reporters’ questions, the Harvard Law graduate ended the briefing after about 40 minutes.
McEnany earned the support of former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who previously took over the position from Sean Spicer. She tweeted, “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!”
McEnany Continued To Be Trump’s Biggest Cheerleader
While speaking extremely fast and eloquently, McEnany referred to Trump as “the best president in history,” and announced that “Jared Kushner has done a great job for this administration,” after the president’s son-in-law referred to America’s coronavirus response as a “great success story.”
McEnany addressed numerous topics such as the innocence of Michael Flynn, whom she said was “an honorable man who served his country,” and defended Trump’s belief that China completely botched its response to coronavirus.
She said, “It’s no secret China mishandled the situation. They did not share the genetic sequence until the professor in Shanghai did so on his own the next day China shut down his lab for rectification and slow-walked the information alongside the World Health Organization.”
McEnany Previously Championed Trump Saying That He Would Never Let Coronavirus Come To America
While appearing on Fox Business on February 25, McEnany confidently and inaccurately announced that coronavirus was “contained,” inferring that the situation would be much worse if President Barack Obama was still in office. She said of Trump, “This President will always put America first, he will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here… and isn’t it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?”
On March 11, after Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders canceled their planned rallies amid coronavirus, McEnany was still not a believer in the severity of coronavirus. She insisted that Trump should continue to hold his rallies.
McEnany said, “The media’s best hope is for Donald Trump to suspend his rallies. They have been wanting him to stop this, they know it’s his avenue to speak directly to the American people. So we’re going to follow the president’s lead, we’re not going to cave to the media and Joe Biden, we’re certainly not going to follow his lead as he tries to hide from the people.”