DMT Beauty Transformation: Dispatches From My Gmail Folder Labeled “Kayleigh McEnany’s Lies”
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Dispatches From My Gmail Folder Labeled “Kayleigh McEnany’s Lies”

September 04, 2020DMT Beauty

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WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 03: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a briefing at the White House September 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. McEnany answered a range of questions relating primarily comments made by President Donald Trump yesterday in North Carolina encouraging people to vote twice in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“I will never lie to you. You have my word on that,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told journalists in her first briefing on May 1.

McEnany hasn’t, uh, exactly kept her word. To be clear,  part of the job of the White House Press Secretary is to make the boss look good, and when that boss is President Donald Trump, your job becomes near-impossible. But to be even more clear, McEnany knew what this job entailed and took it anyway. And so, she keeps at it.

Just yesterday, at the height of a pandemic and with a sky-high unemployment rate, McEnany used her platform to disparage House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, playing on loop a video of Pelosi walking maskless through a hair salon that was supposed to be closed under local regulations. The Pelosi situation is complicated (she shouldn’t have flouted the rules, but also seems to have been set up by a Trump-supporter), but what isn’t complicated is the fact that the president regularly goes maskless and holds huge rallies at which attendees are generally mask-free. Meanwhile, in the same press conference, McEnany also defended President Donald Trump’s baseless assertions that you can vote twice. Later in the day, she lied about Trump’s disrespect for and mocking of veterans and wounded soldiers after The Atlantic reported that the president regularly disparaged service members, using many of the president’s public commentary to bolster their reporting. All in a day’s work!

A Harvard Law graduate who got her start as a Trump-supporting talking head on CNN — she went to great lengths to defend his Access Hollywood tape, saying his words implied consent — McEnany comes to her briefings armed with cherry-picked statements that serve to undermine the media’s credibility. She has turned the podium into a vehicle for bullying journalists, attacking Democratic politicians, and cheerleading the White House’s far-right agenda, rarely if ever substantively engaging with the media’s questions. 

McEnany is a reflection of Trump’s “interest in delegitimizing government institutions, but also the media. I see her as an instrument of him,” Towson University professor Martha Kumar told the Columbia Journalism Review.

The fourth person to hold the job in three-and-a-half years, McEnany has already told a truly impressive number of lies. I have been keeping a folder labeled “Kayleigh’s lies” in my Gmail since May to keep tabs on the then-new press secretary. And, let me tell you, it’s eating up a lot of my storage space. Here are some of her “greatest hits.”

In her very first briefing, McEnany said allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, including sexual assault, are “verifiably false.” 

Many were found to be credible by an investigation.

In that same briefing, McEnany also said there was an “unfair target on the back of General Michael Flynn” (Trump’s former national security advisor who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.) 

She then defended Flynn by falsely saying there was an FBI note that said “we need to get [Flynn] to lie” in order to “get him fired.” The note actually said, “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired? If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ & have them decide. Or, if he initially lies, then we present him [redacted] & he admits it, document for DOJ, & let them decide how to address it.”

McEnany said the Mueller report was a “complete and total exoneration” of Trump. 

The Mueller report explicitly states: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” It laid out 11 instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice, although Mueller concluded he did not have the power to indict a sitting president.

Also on May 1, McEnany mischaracterized one of Trump’s tweets, which called armed anti-lockdown protestors “very good people,” saying he was “referencing generally that in this country you have a First Amendment right to protest.” 

He was clearly praising these specific protestors. But, in her first day on the job, McEnany was already an expert Trump whisperer, making his lies and attacks sound like reasonable statements.

In that same briefing (this is still May 1! It was an eventful briefing!), McEnany responded to questions about the multiple sexual assault accusations against Trump that they are “accusations from four years ago that were asked and answered in the form of the vote of the American people.”

That’s not how accusations work, allegations of rape and sexual assault don’t magically go away once you become president. Also, writer E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a fitting room in 2019. 

On May 15, when asked exactly what crimes are involved in the fictional “Obamagate,” McEnany said, “Mistruths that were said under oath.” 

There is zero information to back this up.

On May 21, after Trump threatened to override governors’ decisions on reopening churches, McEnany declared churches as “essential” and said it was “interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed.” She derided governors for deeming “liquor stores and abortion clinics” as essential.

Reporters pushed back, saying some of them are church-goers. Additionally, churches have been known to be coronavirus spreading sites, as most services are conducted inside, and involve singing and close contact. Abortion clinics are medical facilities and, as such, provide an essential service liquor stores, like other food and beverage retail establishements, have had restrictions for visiting in place, making it possible to stay safe while visiting one. (Besides, you’d think McEnany would want to support as many businesses as possible remaining open.) 

On May 28, McEnany said the U.S. healthcare system was “ready” for the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

Especially in the early weeks of COVID-19, hospitals didn’t have enough beds or other equipment for sick patients, doctors were retrofitting ventilators to serve multiple patients, and healthcare workers were actually wearing trash bags and snorkel masks because of the shortage of PPE.  

On May 28, McEnany said Trump’s “intent is always to give truthful information to the American people.”

LOL!

On June 1, McEnany said Trump has a “long history of condemning white supremacy and racism.”

When asked why Trump hasn’t designated white supremacists as domestic terrorists, she lied. Trump called the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, VA, in 2017 “very fine people,” and in the past months has constantly boosted white supremacists on Twitter while vilifying the people participating in protests against police violence.

On June 19, McEnany defended a manipulated video of two toddlers hugging that Trump posted. 

Amid ongoing protests against racist violence following the police killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans, the president continued to post tweets and retweet unverified videos and information in order to stoke division. McEnany has become his Twitter rant-defender-in-chief: After being asked why Trump would post a video of two toddlers that had been manipulated to make it look like the Black child is running away from the white child, McEnany pivoted to talking about an unrelated CNN clip from 2019. 

On June 22, McEnany said Trump doesn’t use the racist term “kung flu” to describe coronavirus after he was recorded saying it. 

He used it just two days before at a campaign rally in Tulsa.

On June 29, McEnany said Trump had not been briefed on the bounties Russia reportedly put on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan. 

Multiple reports said Trump got written briefings.

On July 9, McEnany said that Trump’s tax returns are under audit and can’t be released. 

“You know, the media has been asking this question for four years, and for four years, the President has said the same thing: His taxes are under audit, and when they’re no longer under audit, he will release them,” McEnany said. But, Trump’s own lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has admitted that the tax returns are not under audit. 

On July 13, McEnany said Trump has a “great record” on LGBTQ+ issues. 

According to GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project, Trump has made at least 172 attacks against the LGBTQ+ community.

On July 16, McEnany falsely claimed that it is safe to open schools.

“We really would like to see schools open. As has been clear, we don’t think our children should be locked up at home with devastating consequences when it’s perfectly safe for them to go to school as emphasized by many medical experts. … The science should not stand in the way of this,” she said.

“Experts” do not say this; in fact they’ve repeatedly warned of the high risk of reopening. We have already seen numerous outbreaks of coronavirus at schools. And yes, science should “stand in the way” of what the president feels like doing in a given moment.

On July 24, McEnany said Paw Patrol, a cartoon show about cops, was canceled

It’s a good thing we have the White House Press Secretary to stand up for a children’s show on Nickelodeon, we guess, but the show was not actually canceled — McEnany’s lie was just another way to push pro-cop propaganda.

On August 4, McEnany accused Joe Biden of “hiding in a basement,” echoing Trump and Fox News. 

Joe Biden has been campaigning for president. I know this thanks to multiple emails I get every hour from his campaign updating me on his whereabouts. 

On August 4, McEnany said there is “ample evidence of fraud” when it comes to the absentee system and vote by mail. 

Trump has repeatedly tried to sabotage mail-in voting, even though he has voted by mail himself. Experts say voter fraud involving vote by mail is very rare. 

On August 26, McEnany said Trump wants to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.

In her speech at the Republican National Convention, McEnany told the story of how she underwent a preventive mastectomy and Trump called to see how she was doing immediately after her surgery. “I can tell you that this president stands by Americans with pre-existing conditions,” she said. In fact, he has worked round the clock, in Congress and in the courts, to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which protects 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

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Natalie Gontcharova, Khareem Sudlow

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