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Kayleigh McEnany Is Just Straight-Up Pretending She Doesn’t Work at the White House Now

Kayleigh McEnany scolds reporters during a press briefing.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has been getting some heavy criticism lately for repeatedly appearing on Fox News, not to do her job as a liason between the press and the federal government, but to hype Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. In recent months, she’s appeared on Fox multiple times to talk about Trump’s rallies, how great his campaign had been going, and to insult and throw accusations at Joe Biden.

These appearances seem to violate the Hatch Act, which is meant to prevent federal employees from engaging in political activity—not that that’s stopped anyone in the Trump administration before. During these interviews, McEnany never made it clear that she wasn’t appearing in an official White House capacity, as she has done plenty of times before.

The New York Times wrote recently that in one such interview, where the press secretary was describing scenes from the various rallies she’d attended with Trump, “Ms. McEnany did not say she was speaking in a position as a campaign adviser. Nor did the campaign or the White House ever announce that she was serving in both roles. When she left the campaign to become the White House press secretary, it was not made clear that she would continue on helping the campaign.”

I guess McEnany heard all that criticism, because in a new Fox News interview, she adopted a different tactic: pretending she doesn’t work at the White House at all.

When asked whether President-elect Joe Biden will have access to intelligence briefings, McEnany responded by saying she didn’t know and that “That would be a question more for the White House.”

Seeing as she is the White House press secretary, she is literally the exact person to ask that question of.

Host Brian Kilmeade introduced McEnany for this segment by (finally) acknowledging that she has a “dual role” and that she was appearing on the show as a campaign advisor. But that’s not how this works! She doesn’t stop being a federal employee just because she says so like Michael Scott loudly yelling “I declare bankruptcy” and considering the matter closed.

January 21st, 2021 should be a national holiday: Trump Administration Lawsuit Day.

(image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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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.