As a grim culmination to an ideological journey that began with her proclaiming her supposed deeply rooted opposition to Donald Trump during the early stages of his presidential candidacy, Republican operative Kayleigh McEnany has assumed her role as new White House press secretary amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, and she’s proudly shilling for the president’s most fervent nonsense. This Friday, the day after well over 2,000 Americans died from the Coronavirus in a single day, McEnany kicked off the latest White House press conference with a rant about the supposed mistreatment of disgraced former Trump staffer Michael Flynn, who, in fact, admitted to lying to the FBI about his communications with the then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S.
The Trump appointee-led Justice Department dropped their case against Flynn this week with the excuse that the case was supposedly out of place from the start. However, that doesn’t change the fact of Flynn’s brazen violation of the law. And neither does it change the fact that while the president and his allies wind themselves up into a rage over investigators daring to investigate crimes, thousands of Americans keep dying each and every day from the Coronavirus.
Other economic tolls have racked the U.S. as well. In April, according to new numbers released by authorities, unemployment hit the staggering level of 14.7 percent. At this Friday’s press briefing, CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked:
‘Putting aside the situation with Michael Flynn, today, the unemployment rate hit the highest point since the Great Depression. What is the president’s plan to get the country out of this ditch?’
McEnany dubiously replied:
‘Yeah, you know, this president is the jobs president. This president got us to a place where we had the lowest unemployment rate in the history of this country — historic lows for black Americans, Hispanic Americans, disabled, veterans. As the president has noted, and I think this is right, we had to put a stop to the economy. It was a pause. This wasn’t some economic catastrophe that organically happened. It was decided upon by the president of the United States to stop the United States economy, because we had to save 2.2 million lives… because American lives, that’s what mattered most.’
.@Acosta: Putting aside Flynn, today the unemployment level hit the highest level since the Great Depression. What's Trump's plan?
McENANY: "Yeah, you know, this president is the jobs president … it was decided upon by POTUS to stop the economy, b/c we had to save 2.2m lives." pic.twitter.com/90JY7Qc21p
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 8, 2020
Donald Trump is not prioritizing American lives. He has explicitly insisted that economic concerns should be prioritized higher than they’ve been by those who have called for the social distancing measures necessary to save lives to remain in place longer than Trump has advocated for.
But, concurrently, the notion from McEnany and Trump that there is some kind of chance to flip a switch and get the economy going again is simply not reflective of reality. If thousands of Americans keep dying each and every day due to the Coronavirus, then there’s not exactly going to be some kind of grand economic recovery.
It's remarkable that even as we approach 100,000 American deaths and unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression, some still want to give Trump a pass despite his obvious incompetence throughout this crisis. It's as though we have a Stockholm syndrome pandemic as well.
— Evan McMullin (@EvanMcMullin) May 8, 2020
As the Friday press conference drew to a close, McEnany ignored a question scrutinizing the White House’s focus on political vendettas amidst the Coronavirus crisis. The U.S. continues to experience a grave dearth of leadership.
McEnany ends the briefing & walks away while ignoring a question about "why did you spend the first part of this briefing talking about Flynn when both POTUS & VP were exposed to coronavirus & we have historic unemployment. Is that really what's top of mind today for the WH?" pic.twitter.com/6y19QNVsLs
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 8, 2020