The new White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, has already proven that she’s well-equipped to deal with the hostile news media. McEnany, who cut her teeth as part of the president’s campaign, has only held a few press conferences since taking the job, but she’s well on her way to showing the country that she’s every bit the fighter that her predecessors – Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders – were.
At a press conference on Wednesday, one reporter decided to get cute and remind McEnany of remarks she made on Fox Business Network in late February.
“This president will always put America first,” McEnany said at the time. “He will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here, we will not see terrorism, and isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of Barack Obama?”
Reuters reporter Jeff Mason, a hint of a smirk on his face, asked McEnany if she would like to “take back” that assessment given what’s happened to the country in the interim.
To her credit, McEnany was more than prepared for this tasteless attack.
“I was asked a question on Fox Business about the president’s travel restrictions,” she said. “I noted what was the intent behind those travel restrictions, which is, we will not see coronavirus come here. We will not see terrorism come here, referring to an earlier set of travel restrictions.
“I guess I would turn the question back on the media and ask similar questions,” McEnany continued. “Does Vox want to take back that they proclaimed that the coronavirus would not be a deadly pandemic? Does The Washington Post want to take back that they told Americans to get a grippe, the flu is bigger than the coronavirus? Does The Washington Post likewise want to take back that our brains are causing us to exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus? Does The New York Times want to take back that fear of the virus may be spreading faster than the virus itself? Does the N.P.R. want to take back that the flu was a much threat bigger than that of the coronavirus? And finally, once again, The Washington Post, would they like to take back that the government should not respond aggressively to the coronavirus?”
Concluding the press conference with this mic drop moment, McEnany said: “I will leave you with those questions and maybe we’ll have answers in a few days.”
Yeah, we’re pretty sure this new girl will do just fine.