McEnany Scorches Media for Early Coronavirus Stories After Gotcha Question

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Cue the Ghanaian pallbearers, NewsBusters readers! On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany ended the press briefing with a bruising takedown of the liberal media after Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason wondered if she’d retract comments about the coronavirus from a February 25 Fox Business appearance.

Instead of offer a mea culpa that wouldn’t assuage the liberal media’s disdain for her or anyone else in the administration (except those who leak and assist in Trump-bashing), McEnany lowered the boom with a series of news headlines from earlier in the year before the pandemic truly went global and became a grim situation.

 

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Mason must have really thought he had her when he inquired:

In a previous life, before you were press secretary, he worked for the campaign and you made a comment I believe, on Fox, in which you said President Trump will not allow the coronavirus to come to this country. Given what has happened since then, obviously, would you like to take that back?

So OANN’s Chanel Rion gets an anonymous note wondering if a March 19 question about the liberal media defending China “was helpful in halting the spread of the coronavirus,” but no blowback here.

Put simply, Mason’s gotcha question did nothing in terms of helping inform the public and have McEnany relay information for the public to help keep their families safe. It’s only a question to quench the media’s thirst.

Back in the present, McEnany replied that the hit was on FBN (not FNC) and pertained to Trump’s “travel restrictions” and “I noted what the intent was behind those travel instructions” and how “we will not see the coronavirus come here” that there would have without them in the same way they can fight terrorism.

For the record, here’s the relevant transcript from the February 25 Trish Regan PrimeTime (click “expand”):

REGAN: We’re looking at the coronavirus and the President saying, you know, look, we’re not going to take people in from China right now. I mean, isn’t it a matter of protecting us, our national security really being at stake? And he’s sort of the last line of defense there.

McENANY: That’s right.

REGAN: Or first line, I should say.

McENANY: Absolutely. This President will always put America first. He will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here. We will not see terrorism come here and isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama.

Mason could have chalked it up to an example of how no one knew that the virus had been inside the U.S. for months and that no one knew the extent to which China had lied as people began dying.

Since he wouldn’t do that, McEnany invoked infamous headlines from The New York Times, NPRVox, and The Washington Post and leaving the podium after inviting the press to think long and hard about their actions.

McEnany’s challenge left Mason scrambling (click “expand”):

McENANY: I would turn the question back to the media and ask similar questions. Does Vox want to take back that they proclaim the coronavirus would not be a deadly pandemic? Does The Washington Post want to take back that they told Americans to get a grip, that the flu is bigger than the coronavirus? Does The Washington Post likewise want to take back that our brains are causing us to exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus? Does The New York Times want to take back that fear of the virus may be spreading faster than the virus itself? Does NPR want to take back that the flu was a bigger threat than the coronavirus? And finally, once again The Washington Post, would they like to take back that the government should not respond aggressively to the coronavirus? I’ll leave you with those questions and maybe you’ll have some answers in a few days.

MASON: Kayleigh, respectfully, you were —

McENANY: Thank you very much.

MASON: — you were — you were prepared for that ask —

She was “prepared?” Yes, Jeff, she sure was ready.

To see the relevant transcript from May 6’s briefing, click “expand.”

White House Press Briefing
May 6, 2020
4:59 p.m. Eastern

JEFF MASON: In a previous life, before you were press secretary, he worked for the campaign and you made a comment I believe, on Fox, in which you said President Trump will not allow the coronavirus to come to this country. Given what has happened since then, obviously, would you like to take that back?

KAYLEIGH McENANY: Well, first, let me know that I was asked a question on Fox Business about the President’s travel restrictions. I noted what the intent was behind those travel instructions, which is we will not see the coronavirus come here. We will not see terrorism come here, referring to an earlier set of travel restrictions. I would turn the question back to the media and ask similar questions. Does Vox want to take back that they proclaim the coronavirus would not be a deadly pandemic? Does The Washington Post want to take back that they told Americans to get a grip, that the flu is bigger than the coronavirus? Does The Washington Post likewise want to take back that our brains are causing us to exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus? Does The New York Times want to take back that fear of the virus may be spreading faster than the virus itself? Does NPR want to take back that the flu was a bigger threat than the coronavirus? And finally, once again The Washington Post, would they like to take back that the government should not respond aggressively to the coronavirus? I’ll leave you with those questions and maybe you’ll have some answers in a few days.

MASON: Kayleigh, respectfully, you were —

McENANY: Thank you very much.

MASON: — you were — you were prepared for that ask —



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