On Friday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held an in-person press conference at the White House after a lengthy break from the podium — and during the proceedings, a reporter shouted out a question that’s on a lot of Americans’ minds: when is the Trump team going to admit that they lost the election? This reporter shouted out the question at least twice as McEnany worked through questions from other reporters who were present. McEnany only ended up taking what CNN’s Kaitlan Collins characterized as a “handful” of questions, and as McEnany concluded, she excused her refusal to even engage with Collins herself by calling the CNN correspondent an “activist.”
Collins had a memorable response — on Twitter after the incident, she wrote that “It’s understandable why someone who hasn’t done their job — taking questions from reporters — in weeks would confuse someone else doing theirs with activism.” Meanwhile, during her broader remarks, McEnany didn’t exactly inspire confidence.
At one point, while discussing the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, McEnany dubiously insisted that “many American lives will be saved thanks to President Trump and the great work of Operation Warp Speed,” which is the administration’s program for supporting the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. To suggest that Trump deserves some kind of special credit for tentatively successful vaccine development is outlandish on its face. Federal support for a COVID-19 vaccine is a bare minimum, and Trump has fumbled other elements of COVID-19 response.
Meanwhile, McEnany insistently tried to provide some kind of legitimate foundation for the Trump team’s claims of widespread fraud, but the legitimacy just is not there. At one point, she insisted that “the president’s been very clear: he wants every legal vote to be counted, and to make sure no illegal votes are counted.” The Trump team can present this idea as some kind of profound rallying cry all they want — in reality, counting all legal votes is exactly what’s gone on across the United States after this election. The Trump team’s willful ignorance of the basic security processes that are already in place doesn’t erase the existence of those security processes.
McEnany added the following:
‘Right now, there’s ongoing litigation. There are, what we know, 74 million Americans who voted for this president. That’s more votes than any president has gotten in history. It’s really extraordinary, and there are very real claims out there that the campaign is pursuing… These individuals deserve to be heard. This is a system that had never been tried in American history: mass mail-out voting. It’s one that we have identified as being particularly prone to fraud, so those claims deserve to be pursued.’
She is lying, just about any way you look at one particular claim of hers: “universal” mail-in voting was not used across the country as a whole, although in some states, authorities mailed ballots to all registered voters — but this concept isn’t new! Prior to COVID-19, multiple states already had systems where all voters automatically got ballots mailed to them. Elsewhere in the country, huge swathes of the electorate could already freely access mail-in voting without even needing to provide a documented excuse for not voting in person.
Check out McEnany’s Friday debacle below: