If the qualifications to become the press secretary in the Trump White House — a position that seems to regularly require new applicants judging from the rate of turnover that’s taken place so far — indeed include a fined-tuned ability to generate “alternative facts” then Kayleigh McEnany was the perfect choice for the job.
The former national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee — like her predecessors Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the little-seen Stephanie Grisham — has held in abeyance any compunctions she may have about violating the biblical commandment against bearing false witness as she goes about saying whatever is necessary to make her boss, the president, look as good as he can given the circumstances, no matter how little resemblance to the truth her words may contain.
McEnany’s prevarications are particularly dangerous during this coronavirus pandemic as she amplifies and excuses Donald Trump’s copious misinformation about the COVID-19 virus, its potential treatments, and the dangers inherent in reopening America’s businesses and recreational areas too early.
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield told The Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”
“We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” Redfield said.
Donald Trump certainly didn’t understand what Redfield meant.
Seeing the CDC director’s warning— which was also reported by CNN — as contrary to the feel-good “get America back to work” message that his carefully sheltered billionaire industrialist buddies are pushing him to promote instead of policies that would prioritize the lives and safety of the poor working stiffs that generate their previously abundant profits, he posted this tweet this morning indicating that he had warned Redfield to issue a retraction.
CDC Director was totally misquoted by Fake News @CNN on Covid 19. He will be putting out a statement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
Since McEnany’s loyalty is to the president rather than the truth, she had to perform some acrobatic double-speak to support the president’s delusional misinterpretation of Director Redfield’s plainly apparent warning against complacency.
CBS News‘ White House correspondent Mark Knoller noted the new press secretary’s attempts to spin the CDC director’s comments in a tweet from the White House lawn where McEnany was speaking to reporters after Trump and his First Lady pretended to do manual labor at a tree-planting ceremony today.
New WH @PressSec Kayleigh McEnany says @CDCDirector's comments about the Fall was a reference to the arrival of the seasonal flu and the need for all people to get flu shots. pic.twitter.com/nfiKsvZgu9
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 22, 2020
Give this woman an honorary Ph.D. in revisionist history!
Then again this reality diversion tactic is not new for McEnany.
Watch her issue a blatantly false declaration about the percentage of Americans who are “with the president” according to Pew Research Center in this interview with a complicit and unquestioning Fox News.
New Press Sec Kayleigh McEnany is on Fox News slathering Spicer-like praise on Trump pic.twitter.com/UehOtbqTUN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 22, 2020
80%!?!? Let’s get real.
The most recent poll regarding the president’s pandemic response conducted by Pew Research was published a week ago and found that 65% of Americans was too slow to address the crisis, 66% are afraid that governments will lift restrictions too quickly, and that 73% felt that the worst is still to come.
A quick hop over to the average of major polls at fivethirtyeight.com shows that Trump’s disapproval rating has risen back up to 52.3%, while the realclearpolitics.com polling average pegs his disapproval rating at 51.1%.
McEnany may try to utilize “alternative facts,” “magical thinking,” or some sort of “reality distortion field” to try to make what the president wants to hear come true, but the rational world of facts keeps intruding to prove that what she actually employs are straight out lies.
America deserves a press Secretary more dedicated to disseminating the truth than to any oath of loyalty to the deranged, ego-driven fantasies of her employer.
Kayleigh McEnany is not that person.
Original reporting by Lena H. Sun at The Washington Post.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.