In view of the changing mood of Donald trump Kayleigh McEnany and her advisers inherited a difficult job. But she nevertheless decided to go to the front. The new spokesperson for the White House resumed a lost tradition on Friday: the daily press briefing. Breaking away from a practice that has been firmly established for decades under Republican and Democratic presidents, the ritual had been abandoned for over a year, preferring to leave Donald Trump all the light.
The 31-year-old “Press secretary” made her mark in stark contrast to Stephanie Grisham, whom she replaced in mid-April and who had never appeared at the podium. Combative, but standing aside from the President’s aggressive attacks on the “Fake News” and “enemies of the people,” Kayleigh McEnany answered questions from journalists for 30 minutes.
“She obviously did not read the job description”
For a first, the spokesperson wanted to mark the spirits by an unequivocal sentence: “I will never lie to you”. But it is a double-edged promise because the press will not fail in the coming months to test the facts of his profession of faith on his honesty. “She obviously hasn’t read the job description,” joked Julian Zelizer, a professor of political science at Princeton University, in a tweet.
Graduated from prestigious Georgetown and Harvard universities, Kayleigh McEnany, who was a commentator on Fox and CNN before becoming spokesperson for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, knows that his statements will be carefully scrutinized. The White House communications team has in the past used strange contortions or formulations to defend or explain the president’s statements.
The first spokesperson, Sean Spicer, started off on the wrong foot. When he first appeared in the James Brady Press Briefing Room, he had clumsily attempted to defend the president who had lost his temper after unflattering comparisons between the size of the crowd that gathered for his inauguration on 20 January 2017, and that of Barack Obama eight years earlier. Asked why Trump pushed his spokesperson to speak “lies”, Kellyanne Conway, another adviser to the president, added to the discomfort by saying that the latter had presented “alternative facts”. This strange phrase has since stuck with the Trump team.