Apr 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Introducing White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany


Kayleigh McEnany. Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kayleigh McEnany took over as White House press secretary Tuesday, shifting from Trump 2020 campaign spokesperson to the West Wing.

Why it matters: McEnany is the fourth press secretary thus far in the Trump presidency. She enters the role after doing outreach with supporters on the campaign trail and serving as one of the re-election effort's most visible surrogates. Her new role begins at an increasingly public-facing time for the administration, as daily press briefings have been reinstalled to update Americans on the threat of the coronavirus.

The state of play: McEnany is newly named White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' first major staffing change.

  • Previous press secretaries include Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Stephanie Grisham.

Background: McEnany, 31, is a Florida native and Harvard Law School graduate. She was appointed national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee in 2017, then switched roles to national press secretary for Trump's re-election campaign in 2019.

  • She's also a former CNN contributor, often found promoting Trump and the administration on the network.
  • She's appeared more than 200 times on Fox News weekday programming since August 2017.
  • She also published a book in 2018 titled "The New American Revolution: The Making of a Populist Movement."

Between the lines: McEnany's defense of the president has — at times — been met with backlash.

  • In February, she said on Fox Business: "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?"
    • Reality check: The coronavirus has since infected more than 386,000 Americans.
  • She clashed on-air with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo last August when asked if the president had "ever lied to the American people." McEnany retorted: "Guess who lies? The press lies."
    • Cuomo stopped mid-interview, saying: "Interview's over."
  • And she hasn't been shy about lambasting Democrats, saying the party has "nothing to offer" in 2020 on Fox News.
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