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Kayleigh McEnany Keeps Attacking Reporters for Taking Donald Trump’s Words at Face Value

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during the press briefing

Whereas much of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was centered on appealing to racists, that approach has become the entirety of his 2020 campaign. With a tanking economy and a virus that’s killing hundreds of people a day, making sure racists feel properly coddled is basically the only thing he has left, and he’s leaning in hard. Meanwhile, it’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s job to keep gaslighting reporters and telling them they’re taking direct quotes and tweets out of context or blowing them out of proportion.

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In recent weeks, Trump has condemned the removal of confederate monuments and statues of slave owners, whether they’re removed through official means or by the hands of protesters. He’s also criticized NASCAR for their recent decision to ban confederate flags at events. At recent press briefing, reporter Ryan Lizza asked McEnany if Trump thought “it was a good thing that the South lost the Civil War?” McEnany called that question “absolutely absurd,” but given Trump’s vehement support of confederate symbols, it seems like a valid query.

Just today, Trump tweeted that the confederate flag ban was responsible for NASCAR’s low ratings. In the same tweet, he attacked Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who had been assigned to a garage stall that had what appeared to be a noose in place of a garage pull. Trump called Wallace’s claims a “hoax,” which is not at all accurate. (The FBI concluded that no federal hate crime had been committed. They did not determine the noose’s placement to be a hoax.)

Yet, when asked direct questions about Trump’s stance on confederate flags and monuments, McEnany refuses to make any definitive statements one way or the other. Watch her dodge and weave:

She insists that Trump “wasn’t making a judgement one way or the other” by decrying NASCAR’s “flag decision” and instead turns the conversation into a way to chastise the media for a “rush to judgement” and for “focusing on one word at the very bottom of a tweet.” The reporter wasn’t even asking about Wallace, but presumably, the word McEnany talking about is “hoax,” which was in the middle of the tweet, written in all caps, and seems pretty important no matter its placement. She also compares Bubba Wallace to Jussie Smollett and “the Covington boys.”

For his part, Wallace posted a message to Twitter today about valuing “love over hate every day” because “even when it’s HATE coming from the POTUS.. love wins.”

(image: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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