New White House press secretary vows never to lie at inaugural briefing

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in her first formal briefing said Friday that she would never lie to the press.

“I will never lie to you. You have my word on that,” McEnany said when asked by a reporter if she would pledge to never lie to the White House press corps from the podium.


McEnany took the podium in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room for the first time on Friday, just weeks after assuming the role as press secretary. Friday’s briefing marked the first briefing from the press secretary in over a year.

Standing at the podium for just over 30 minutes, McEnany fielded questions from every reporter in the room. Topics included the coronavirus and China, the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and sexual assault allegations against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE.

McEnany rarely veered off script, offering a consistent and robust defense of President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE with each of her answers. She sparred lightly with journalists and praised her boss.


McEnany avoided any talk of testing shortages or her own history of downplaying the coronavirus when asked about Trump’s pronouncements that his administration has done a “spectacular” job responding to the crisis even as the disease has killed more than 63,000 in the U.S.

“The fact that this president can look the American people in the eye and say ‘I am producing 100,000 ventilators this year’ … I’d consider that a great success on behalf of the American people,” she said.

McEnany dodged a question about whether Trump still believes Flynn lied to Vice President Pence, which prompted his firing in 2017, instead highlighting new developments in his case that raised questions about how the FBI questioned him.

“Doesn’t that trouble you as a journalist? And not only that, as an American citizen?” she asked ABC News anchor Jonathan Karl.

The briefing opened with a video of Trump meeting with small business owners and employees at the White House and ended with McEnany urging Americans to watch the president’s Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday, which will be televised live from the Lincoln Memorial.


“It’ll be can’t-miss television, much like the highly rated President Trump coronavirus task force briefings have been,” she said.

McEnany, a former Trump campaign spokeswoman, was brought on to replace Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamKayleigh McEnany joins Fox News as co-host of 'Outnumbered' Melania Trump says she was 'disappointed and disheartened' watching Capitol riots Trump resignations gaining steam MORE as press secretary as part of a broader shuffle of the communications team executed by new chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBoehner finally calls it as he sees it Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here MORE in early April. 

Her first briefing came as the White House has shifted its messaging following a month's worth of daily coronavirus task force briefings, where Trump was joined by public health officials to discuss the pandemic.

But advisers warned Trump to curtail his appearances, particularly after he suggested experts study injecting disinfectants as a potential cure. The health officials have still appeared on television, but have not held a briefing in the week since. Instead, the focus has been more on the economy as some states begin lifting restrictions on businesses intended to slow the spread of the virus.

McEnany didn’t commit to holding daily briefings of her own, but said that she planned to continue to brief the press and that details on timing would be forthcoming. 

“We do plan to do them,” McEnany said. 

Prior White House press secretaries have had combative relationships with the media and offered inaccurate statements from the podium.

Trump’s first press secretary, Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerOvernight Health Care: CDC director calls on Michigan to 'close things down' amid surge in cases | Regeneron says antibody therapy prevents COVID-19 infections The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Biden moves vaccine eligibility by almost two weeks Easter Bunny pays surprise visit to White House briefing room MORE, was mocked on “Saturday Night Live” for his barbs with the media and at times shaky performances. He opened his tenure by falsely claiming that Trump enjoyed the largest inauguration crowd in history.

Sarah HuckabeeSarah SandersAndrew Giuliani planning run for New York governor Trump appears at Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaign event Trump likely to form new super PAC MORE Sanders admitted to former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s team of investigators that she lied to reporters when she said at a briefing that she’d heard from countless members of the FBI who supported the firing of former Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyShowtime developing limited series about Jan. 6 Capitol riot Wray says FBI not systemically racist John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges MORE.

Sanders oversaw the end to the daily briefing; her last formal briefing with reporters occurred in March 2019. Grisham, who held the post for less than a year, never held a formal briefing from White House briefing room.