White House Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany said that she “naively” believed some of CNN’s headlines in 2015 when she called out Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants as “racist.”
In a press briefing on Friday, PBS Newshour’s Yamiche Alcindor asked McEnany about her prior disparaging remarks about Trump, made as he was starting his presidential campaign.
“For about the first four weeks of the election, I was watching CNN and I was naively believing some of the headlines I saw on CNN,” McEnany said.
She said that she was not going to read the headlines, but added, “I very quickly came around to supporting the president. CNN hired me. I was on many eight one one panels where I proudly supported this president, who I think is one of the best presidents, if not the best president this country will ever have.”
On Thursday, CNN’s K File aired her prior comments. “To me a racist statement is a racist statement. I don’t like what Donald Trump said. I don’t like what Al Sharpton said,” McEnany said. She had been commenting on Trump’s remarks labelling some Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists.
She later came around to supporting Trump and became a CNN contributor.
McEnany then suggested that CNN’s K File track down past comments made by James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; Samantha Power, the former ambassador to the United Nations; and Susan Rice, the former national security adviser. She suggested that what they were saying on the air was different from what they were telling the House Intelligence Committee. Transcripts of witness interviews were released on Thursday.
“Those individuals were saying much different things publicly than they were saying privately,” she said.
Alcindor then asked again whether she was walking back her 2015 comments about Trump.
“I support this president. There is no questioning that. So honored to work for him,” McEnany responded.
The briefing started with McEnany running through a list of reasons why the Justice Department made the right decision in deciding to drop the case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, who had earlier pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. But most of the questions she was posed had to do with the economy, given the announcement earlier on Friday of Depression-era levels of unemployment.