The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag:

Now That Trump Is Gone, GOP Demands Presidential Press Conferences

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

After years of defending Donald Trump, Republicans are attacking President Joe Biden for lack of "presidential transparency." But Trump's administration set modern records for holding the fewest press conferences.

On Tuesday, the Republican National Committee tweeted a video noting that it has been "49 days without a Biden press conference."

"Every day Pres. Biden goes without a press conference, he sets a new modern record for a lack of presidential transparency," they charged.

Trump's former White House press secretary — turned Fox commentator — Kayleigh McEnany launched a similar attack on the new administration last week.

"Where's Joe? It's been 41 days, at this point President Trump had had multiple press appearances, press conferences. President Barack Obama had as well," she told Fox News.

This claim is highly misleading. While Trump held his first formal solo press conference on Feb. 16, 2017 — nearly a month into his lone term — he gave exactly zero more over his entire first year. His then-spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed in early 2018 that more were unnecessary because Trump frequently communicated with the public "through Twitter."

div class='content_nm_placeholder' data-a_number="1">

According to the American Presidency Project, Trump gave the fewest in the first year of his administration of any president dating back to Calvin Coolidge.

He gave just nine solo press conferences over the first three years of his administration, before giving 35 in his pandemic-plagued final year.

Biden has not yet given a solo press conference but has repeatedly taken press questions in less formal settings.

Moreover, Biden's administration has been providing daily press briefings. Press secretary Jen Psaki takes questions from reporters at each, representing the administration.

The Trump White House repeatedly set records for the longest gaps between press briefings. In one period in 2019 and 2020, the administration went more than 300 days without a formal briefing.

div class='content_nm_placeholder' data-a_number="2">

Over that time, Stephanie Grisham held the title of White House press secretary for more than nine months without ever giving a single press briefing. Last January, two authors offered to donate $200,000 to charity if she gave even one briefing. She still refused.

Though Trump often called himself the "most transparent" president in history and took occasional questions at impromptu press gaggles outside the White House, his administration also attempted to restrict access to unfriendly reporters, revoking press passes from several White House journalists.

"We look forward to holding a full formal press conference, but in the meantime the president takes questions from the reporters covering the White House regularly, including this morning," Psaki told CNN last week. "And his focus day in and day out is on getting the pandemic under control and putting people back to work. That's what people elected him to do."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Unfazed By Her Infamous Lying, Fox Hires Kayleigh McEnany

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

On March 2, Fox News announced on air that former White House press secretary and former Trump 2020 senior adviser Kayleigh McEnany has joined "the Fox family." McEnany's new employment was initially reported in late January, shortly after the January 6 insurrection, though at the time Fox denied the report, and her offer was reportedly "put on pause." McEnany was a regular fixture on Fox News even when she worked at the White House - appearing on the network at least 326 times since August 2017.

Fox News Channel has long been part of a revolving door for GOP politics. Given Fox's devotion to former President Donald Trump's agenda and its flailing attempts to win back viewers from rival right-wing TV channels, McEnany is a natural fit for a network that specializes in partisan lies and misdirection. And for a Trumpist liar as prolific as McEnany, there may not be many options for her beyond Fox.

At her first briefing as press secretary, McEnany promised not to lie to the media, then told multiple lies before that 15-minute session even ended. Much like her fellow Trump lackeys, McEnany "lies the way that most people breathe," including in absurdly shameless moments like when she defended Trump's indefensible lie that COVID-9 affects "virtually nobody," or when she lied that Trump never downplayed the pandemic, despite a public tape of Trump doing exactly that at length. On virtually any topic, there are examples of McEnany bending, avoiding, or outright subverting the truth in absolute service to Trump -- exactly the outlook that is foundational to Fox News.

Perhaps the worst lie McEnany told was one that was also promoted all over Fox News: that the 2020 election may have been stolen from Trump, which ultimately led to a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. McEnany, appearing in one or two of her roles (sometimes it got confusing), pushed that lie in numerous Fox appearances after Trump lost the 2020 election, appearing on Hannity 20 times during that period. As a sign of McEnany's priorities, she gave only three press briefings (which were also full of lies) in her official White House capacity during the same time period.

div class='content_nm_placeholder' data-a_number="2">

Threatened by competition from both mainstream and even more conservative channels and breaking promises to its remaining advertisers, Fox News is doubling down on the malicious lies of Trumpism in hiring McEnany, including the voter fraud lie that led to an attack on Congress, five deaths, more than 280 arrests, and a second Trump impeachment. With the former president deplatformed and potentially facing legal jeopardy, it seems that those remaining stuck in the Fox-Trump revolving door will do whatever they can to hold on to ratings and influence.

Was Kayleigh McEnany Auditioning For Fox All Along?

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany signed a contract for a paid role at Fox News in January, according to a disclosure report unearthed on Tuesday by the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group.

McEnany would be just the latest Donald Trump administration aide to join the right-wing cable network.

McEnany disclosed in the report that she had an "employment agreement" with the Fox Corporation, writing under that status and terms that it was with Fox News and that she would be "starting work in January."

A Fox News spokesperson told the New York Times reporter that McEnany is not "currently" employed by the network, though the spokesperson did not deny that the former press secretary had signed a contract with the company.

HuffPost and New York magazine contributor Yashar Ali also reported that "a source familiar with Kayleigh's discussions" had said "there was a deal being negotiated but was put on pause...but that Fox News may still hire her give that the network doesn't 'condone cancel culture.'"

div class='content_nm_placeholder' data-a_number="1">

McEnany spent the final months of her tenure ignoring her role of informing the public by holding press briefings at the White House. Instead, she spent the majority of her time pushing voter fraud lies in multiple appearances on Fox News, in her dual role as campaign adviser.

Those lies eventually helped incite an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, carried out by a pro-Trump mob that sought to kill lawmakers and Trump's own vice president, Mike Pence.

McEnany's role on the Trump campaign was itself questionable, given she was simultaneously drawing a taxpayer funded salary of $183,000 per year.

McEnany scoring a gig with Fox News would be fitting, as the network effectively serves as a messaging platform for Republicans, and includes a spate of "opinion" hosts in its prime-time lineup that overtly support Trump. The outlet has also been a revolving door for Trump administration staffers.

div class='content_nm_placeholder' data-a_number="2">

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed on with the network in September 2019, after her own stint at the podium. Her contributor gig with the network was terminated after she announced on Monday morning that she is running for governor of Arkansas.

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks also worked for Fox News after she left the administration the first time around. And Raj Shah, another former Trump administration spokesperson, joined Fox News after leaving as well.

Meanwhile, other Trump administration staffers have had a harder time finding employment since the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, which led to a stream of White House deserters.

Politico reported that corporate America has essentially frozen out those who worked in the Trump administration, adding that some former aides had their offers rescinded after the insurrection.

"They are really f---ed," an unnamed Republican strategist told Politico.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Kayleigh Burned Crispy For Tweet Praising MLK

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Outgoing White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany is facing an onslaught of criticism after posting a tweet praising Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day.

Calling Dr. King "a hero, who embodied love and faith in his pursuit for equality," McEnany posted a quote from the iconic civil rights leader. Given that she, as one social media user said, along with her president and her party "tried to nullify millions of Black votes," it is an incredible self-own.

And on her personal Twitter account she posted this quote:

Early Monday morning Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, issued a plea, a reminder, and a warning:

Here's how some are responding to McEnany's remarks.







(That is an actual tweet from McEnany, original here.)