President Donald Trump has lied an essentially inordinate number of times while in office. He routinely seems to not care whether what he’s saying has any relationship to reality — instead, he just says whatever comes to mind and he thinks might be politically useful in the moment. In the realm of basic, tangible reality, it’s a documented fact that many of Trump’s public statements have contained demonstrable lies, but during a press conference this Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany disturbingly refused to acknowledge that the president had ever lied a single time. It’s as if she imagined she was an official in some kind of despotic dictatorship, where absolute deference to the Dear Leader is demanded.
Asked if she's saying the president has never lied to the public before, McEnany says, "His intent is always to give truthful information to the American people."
(This is where I tune out.)
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 28, 2020
CNN reporter Jim Acosta questioned McEnany over the president’s rage over Twitter’s simple decision to attach a fact-check to two of his recent lie-riddled tweets about mail-in voting. In retaliation, the Trump administration has prepared an executive order targeting social media companies that’s meant to remove some of the protections from legal liability they’ve had.
On subject of fact checking Trump on social media, asked McEnany whether Trump has ever lied. Her response: “His intent is always to give truthful information to the American people.”
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 28, 2020
‘Shouldn’t the president be fact-checked, especially this president, who has made so many false and misleading statements that he’s put fact-checkers to work across the world? He’s uttered some 18,000 false or misleading statements according to The Washington Post. If there’s any… political leader out there who should be fact-checked, isn’t it President Trump?’
McEnany responded by launching into a diatribe against the media, whose main function, quite simply, is reporting upon the basic reality that the president and his team seem to hate so much. She insisted:
‘Well first of all, I disagree with all if not almost all of those assertions that you’re making there. If you’re going to get into the fact-checking business, there’s no one that should be fact-checked more than the mainstream media that has been continually wrong about a number of things.’
The Trump White House is now completely out of sync with the FDA regarding hydroxychloroquine. McEnany touted HCQ as a preventative drug for coronavirus and urged people to get prescriptions from doctors. FDA says there's no proof it works and it's not authorized for at-home use.
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) May 28, 2020
Acosta pointed out in response that the news outlets that “make mistakes from time to time… own up to those mistakes” — which, of course, is dramatically different from the president’s own response to criticism over the egregious, demonstrable falsehoods that he’s trumpeted. Has he ever even admitted a single time that he was wrong?
WH Press Sec Kayleigh McEnany says if anyone needs to be fact checked, it is the media.
Note: Media companies make mistakes and post corrections all the time to take responsibility for mistakes. President Trump has not done the same thing when he has made misleading statements.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) May 28, 2020
Acosta pointedly followed up:
‘Are you saying that the president of the United States has never lied to the public before?’
McEnany did not directly answer the question, but she replied:
‘I’m around the president. His intent is always to give truthful information to the American people, and you mention that the media apologizes for their mistruths — I mean, I’m sitting here looking at other headlines… [for example], Washington Post: U.S. health system is showing why it’s not ready for a Coronavirus pandemic, [but] we were ready. There’s many more I could get to.’
.@Acosta: On Twitter – shouldn't POTUS be fact-checked? Especially one who has made as many false claims as Trump?
McENANY: There's no one that should be fact-checked more than the media
A: Are you saying Trump hasn't lied?
M: His intent is always to give truthful information pic.twitter.com/4JKBwjpREx
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 28, 2020
As one commenter pointed out, McEnany sounds like she wants to get the president some kind of “participation trophy” for truth-telling. But quite simply, that’s not how reality works — whether or not Trump “meant to” lie doesn’t matter! He has lied, plain and simple.
the best part is the demand for a truth-telling participation trophy. he tried! https://t.co/5sVRgi1Dpl
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) May 28, 2020