White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Friday blamed what she appeared to describe as misleading headlines from CNN for her past criticisms of the president.
A recent report from CNN’s “KFile” showed McEnany criticized then-candidate Trump for his assertion that Mexico was sending its worst nationals over the border, and that some are “rapists” and “killers.”
"To me, a racist statement is a racist statement. I don't like what Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE," McEnany said in an exchange on CNN in late June 2015, according to the news outlet.
Here's video we just played on CNN of comments Kayleigh McEnany made criticizing Donald Trump in 2015, calling comments from Trump "racist," and saying he was "a showman," not "a serious candidate' and adding "I don't want to claim this guy." pic.twitter.com/dxDaFJgKqc— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) May 7, 2020
During a White House press briefing Friday, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked McEnany whether she still believed the comments Trump made in 2015 on the campaign trail were “racist.”
“In 2015, shortly after the president said that some Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals, you said that that language was racist and hateful. Do you still believe that today?" Alcindor asked.
McEnany said that she was "glad" the reporter asked her that question. She said that for about the first four weeks of the election cycle, she was watching CNN and “naively believing” some of the headlines that she saw.
The press secretary said that after that period of time, she “very quickly came around” to support Trump.
“CNN hired me. In fact, I was on many 8-on-1 panels where I proudly supported this president, who I believe is one of the best presidents if not the best president this country will ever have,” she said.
Following her response, McEnany quickly diverted the conversation to former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s probe.
“But I would encourage the individual who did that analysis on my past — rather than focusing on me, he really should be focused on some of the very guests CNN chose to have on their network," she said.
Specifically, she said that CNN should be focused on former officials like James ClapperJames Robert ClapperAfghanistan disaster puts intelligence under scrutiny Domestic security is in disarray: We need a manager, now more than ever Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? MORE, director of national intelligence under former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhite House debates vaccines for air travel Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward MORE, who “10 days before he privately told investigators there was no evidence of collusion, [he said] that Watergate pales in comparison to the Russia probe.”
The press secretary also brought up former Obama administration officials Samantha PowerSamantha PowerHow Trump broke the system that offers protection to Afghan allies Aid airlift underway to earthquake-striken Haiti With Haiti in chaos, we must rewrite the script on disaster aid MORE, who served as ambassador to the United Nations, and national security adviser Susan Rice, both of whom McEnany claimed could not provide any evidence or recall any instance of collusion by Trump with Russia.
On Thursday, the Department of Justice dropped the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn for charges of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia shortly before Trump took office.
Some conservatives claim that the FBI was out to entrap Flynn, who was removed from his post at the White House after misleading Vice President Pence about his Russia contacts.
Democrats, on the other hand, have renewed their calls for Attorney General William Barr to step down from his post after the case was dropped.