McEnany blames 'naively believing' CNN headlines for past anti-Trump comments

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 John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE," McEnany said in an exchange on CNN in late June 2015, according to the news outlet. 

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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. 

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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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 ClapperHillicon Valley: Democrats request counterintelligence briefing | New pressure for election funding | Republicans urge retaliation against Chinese hackers National security leaders, advocacy groups urge Congress to send election funds to states Trump's actions on China speak louder than Bolton's words MORE, director of national intelligence under former President Obama, 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 Jane PowerSupport swells for renaming Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to honor John Lewis after his death 'Obamagate' backfires: Documents show Biden, Obama acted properly 'Unmaskings' may be common — and that's the problem 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.