White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany faced questions on Friday about President Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge the election results and concerns that he is trying to negate the will of voters in key swing states, but she finished the briefing by snapping at CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.
As McEnany began to leave, Collins tried to ask another question.
“I don’t call on activists,” McEnany said.
Collins responded, “I am not an activist, and you didn’t take questions since October 1st and just took about five, Kayleigh. That’s not doing your job. Your taxpayer-funded job.”
McEnany has been moonlighting in recent weeks as a spokesperson for Donald Trump’s campaign but has continued to serve in her White House position, which pays $183,000.
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During the briefing, McEnany defended Trump’s pursuit of lawsuits in a number of swing states challenging the election results, but they have largely been almost entirely unsuccessful. Nevertheless, Trump and his legal team continue to push conspiracy theories about the election. Trump on Friday was scheduled to meet with Republican lawmakers from Michigan, raising fears he is trying to exert pressure on them to try to move to send Trump electors for next month’s electoral college vote. That would subvert the will of the voters in the state, which Joe Biden won by more than 146,000 votes.
McEnany called the meeting as something “routine” and “not an advocacy meeting,” even though Rudy Giuliani, who is leading Trump’s legal effort, said he will be there.
McEnany also defended Trump’s refusal to recognize Biden as the winner, something that has kept the Trump administration from releasing funds to formally start the transition process. Instead, McEnany argued that Democrats were intransigent back in 2016.
“Let us not forget the inexcusable transition, or lack thereof, that President Trump had to endure in 2016 and for years into his presidency.”
But Hillary Clinton conceded the election early the morning after Election Day, and Trump actually praised Barack and Michelle Obama for their cooperation during the transition.
In his inaugural address, Trump said, “Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.”
McEnany also denied Trump instructed administration officials from sharing information with the Biden team.
Fox News carried the briefing live; CNN and MSNBC did not. After the press conference, CNN’s Dana Bash explained to viewers that the network did not carry McEnany’s briefing because of the chances that she would try to advance a number of falsehoods.
Collins later tweeted, “>Appearing in her professional capacity, @PressSec takes only a handful of questions in her first briefing since Oct. 1. Asked why can’t call on all reporters — given it’s been so long and there are not many of us due to social distancing — she called me ‘an activist.’ It’s understandable why someone who hasn’t done their job — taking questions from reporters — in weeks would confuse someone else doing theirs with activism.”
Here’s the video of the exchange, which comes at the 15:30 mark:
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 20, 2020
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