This Friday, for the first time in over a year, the White House press secretary held a press conference. The press secretary at the podium was Kayleigh McEnany, who took over after Stephanie Grisham recently left the job after never holding a single press conference during her entire tenure. In place of press conferences, Grisham conducted a seemingly never-ending stream of appearances on Fox News. At her first press conference, towards the beginning, McEnany offered a pledge that she would never lie to reporters — although she quickly did so covering a range of topics, from the stories of Trump-perpetrated sexual assault that have emerged to the FBI’s treatment of Trump associate Michael Flynn.
‘I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.’
New press sec McEnany at first traditional WH briefing in more than 400 days: "I will never lie to you. You have my word on that."
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 1, 2020
But she quickly faced questioning which she bent the truth dramatically in response to. She claimed that the FBI had, for instance, endeavored to get Flynn to lie so that they could have a gotcha moment and get him fired, but the evidence that she cited for that claim does not actually relate what she claimed it does. In fact, FBI notes reveal the agency simply going through the motions of outlining their plans for their questioning of Flynn over his attempts to hide his communications with the then-Russian Ambassador to the United States. The FBI never plotted to ensnare Flynn in a lie — at least initially, he admitted that he lied, pleading guilty.
McEnany claimed an FBI note said: "Quote, 'We need to get Flynn to lie,' quote, and get him fired."
It did not say "we need to get him to lie."
It said: "What's our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?"
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 1, 2020
McEnany also addressed issues of sexual assault allegations in the wake of the emergence of the story of Tara Reade, who says that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her when she worked for him in the Senate in the 1990s. Biden has unequivocally denied the claim, but Trump supporters have seized on the story as a talking point, bringing up familiar observations that women must be trusted when they come forward with stories of suffering assault.
AP's Jill Colvin: "Will you pledge to never lie to us?"
Kayleigh McEnany: "I will never lie to you. You have my word on that."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 1, 2020
The problem is that Donald Trump, the current de facto leader of the Republican Party, has faced a staggering slew of sexual harassment and assault allegations, making the GOP’s sudden concern about the issue seem like partisan hypocrisy. In defense of the president amidst the tumult, McEnany claimed this Friday that he should be believed because he’s “always told the truth” — which is circular reasoning. He should be believed… because he’s believable? The evidence apart from Trump’s own denials indicates his guilt.
McEnany's rationale for why Trump's denials of sexual assault are more convincing than Biden's is that "the president has swiftly denied all of these allegations that were raised four years ago. He's always told the truth on these issues." pic.twitter.com/dKKcmmEDpE
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2020
McEnany also called the sexual assault allegations against the Trump-nominated U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh “verifiably false” — but they’re not verifiably false. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s story about Kavanaugh was supported.
"The salacious, awful, and verifiably false allegations that were made against Justice Kavanaugh" — McEnany just lied, breaking the promise she made not to just minutes ago. The allegations against Kavanaugh were not verifiably false.
It was a good run. pic.twitter.com/XQp1yer9vt
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2020
Once upon a time, McEnany — like other current Trump shills like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — was actually a Never Trumper. She advocated against Trump’s supposedly out-of-place belligerence, insisting that the Republican Party that she stood for was better than him — or something. In fact, she is now apparently completely on board with Trumpism to the point that she even recently tried to convince reporters that Trump frequently gets too busy to eat. That’s just ridiculous.
We all witnessed Trump's full-day Twitter meltdown yesterday and yet Kayleigh McEnany is on Fox News trying to convince you he's too busy to eat pic.twitter.com/KeayIXZVBF
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 27, 2020