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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.

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.