In an ideal world, the White House press secretary would be a fearless defender of the truth and a window into the actions of the United States’ most powerful office.
In the real world, the best we can hope for is something akin to the president’s public advocate, communicating the administration’s actions and viewpoints through a selective mix of facts and spin. And then there’s the Trumpian hellworld we live in now, where the press secretary’s job is to surround the administration’s actions with a perpetual cloud of bullshit that makes public accountability all but impossible. Plus, of course, they must alway defend and never contradict the latest inanities of our television-addicted president.
Kayleigh McEnany, the newest White House mouthpiece, is impeccably qualified for that version of the job, boasting a personality devoid of shame and a long resume of keeping a straight face while saying some truly wild shit. Let’s review a few of her greatest hits.
- “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here. We will not see terrorism come here. And isn’t it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama.” — McEnany, February 25th, to former Fox News host Trish Reagan.
Narrator voice: The virus would, in fact, come to the United States. Indeed, it already had, as this was more than a month after the first confirmed case popped up in Washington state. McEnany defended her statements later, saying she was referring to Trump’s decision to ban travelers from China. But that’s not what she said. She said the virus wouldn’t come here. That was ridiculous when she said it and has only gotten more so since.
As for her claim that Trump would keep out terrorism, well, her handle on that subject has proven flimsy at best.
- “President @realDonaldTrump once again denounced hate today. The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!” — McEnany, August 15th, 2017, Twitter
Out of context, there’s a shred of accuracy to this tweet, in which McEnany is commenting on Trump’s news conference following the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. After being pressed on an event where a white nationalist terrorist killed a person named Heather Heyer, Trump said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.”
But, well, it’s also when Trump said this: “You had some very bad people in that group [of “Unite the Right” protesters], but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. … You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”
Nothing says “love and inclusiveness” like praising pro-Confederate statue protestors who make common cause with neo-Nazis.
- “Donald Trump was on the cutting edge of civil rights at Mar-a-Lago… because he was the first person to allow blacks and Jewish people into his country club.” — McEnany, August 2016, CNN
Donald Trump did more than anyone else to convince people that President Barack Obama, the first black president, was born in Kenya and illegitimate. He called for the execution of the exonerated black teenagers known as the “Central Park 5.” He has been hit with numerous housing discrimination lawsuits. He ran the most overtly racist presidential campaign in decades. He started his campaign by smearing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” who bring drugs and violent crime to the United States. He has never been on the cutting edge of civil rights at Mar-a-Lago or anywhere else.
- “What we saw in Ferguson has zero to do with the history of slavery or history of racism.” — McEnany, 2015 on a Fox Business segment sneering at a “Black Lives Matter” course at Dartmouth
The Justice Department did not bring charges against any Ferguson Officers over the killing of Michael Brown. DOJ inspectors did, however, report this: “The Justice Department found that the Ferguson Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution,” also saying it had found a “pattern of Civil Rights Violations” by the department. But, you know, go off Kayleigh…
- “Donald Trump has shown himself to be a showman. I don’t think he’s a serious candidate. … It’s a sideshow. It’s not within the mainstream of candidates. … I’m here to tell you he’s not going to be anywhere near the top 5. He made that pretty clear when the most important thing he said in his speech was ‘I am rich, I am rich’ repeatedly.” — McEnany, summer of 2015 on CNN
In fairness to Kayleigh, a lot of people thought that a wildly unqualified, overt racist could not become president. But, well, a lot of people also didn’t throw in with him when he did.
This is all just a sampler platter from the old country bullshit buffet McEnany has been serving up for years. And now she’s getting her biggest platform yet.