The 2016 Republican presidential primary was a very strange one to look back on four years later. Several notable conservatives who either became Donald Trump’s surrogates or have effusively supported him the past few years were very, very harsh on him back then, like Ted Cruz. And Kayleigh McEnany, who was named as Trump’s new press secretary in April, is one of them.
In 2015, when McEnany was Harvard Law student and CNN contributor, she had a lot to say about Trump’s infamous comments about illegal immigration — in which he said that Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
McEnany has a pretty strong response in her appearance on “CNN Tonight” on June 30, 2015.
“Hey, I don’t want to claim this guy. Donald Trump, if we’re going to be honest, is a progressive. He supports eminent domain. He supported tax increases before. He’s donated 300,000 to democratic candidates. So, the fact that the Republican Party is now having to claim him, is both unfortunate. And to me, inauthentic. Because this is not a true republican candidate. And the fact that he’s being portrayed as such a media is troublesome and not accurate,” she said.
“He’s a Republican in name only.”
CNN’s K File dug these clips up for a report on Thursday. And you can see the clips in the video embedded up at the top of this article.
That wasn’t the only time McEnany spoke on the topic. The day before, she had even more to say on “CNN Tonight.”
“I want to make clear, I don’t support what Donald Trump said. I think he said something very unartful, very inappropriate. However, he was hitting at a real issue in this country. You know, we can’t have porous borders, sex offenders crossing the border went up 100 percent last year in parts of Texas. So, this is a problem. He said it in a poor way. It was not OK. But he was hitting at a real problem,” she said.
When host Don Lemon asked about whether Trump’s stance was consistent with Republicans at large, McEnany said no.
“I think that the stance of most Republicans is we have got to plug the border. But I think the mainstream Republican does not want to send the illegal immigrant back to Mexico,” she replied. “I think that they’re here to stay. That’s not the American way. We’re not going to ship people across the border. There has to be some path to citizenship. So, in that sense, I don’t think Donald Trump is consistent with mainstream republicans. There’s going to be a path.”
And later in that same episode, she called Trump’s candidacy a “sideshow.”
“Donald Trump has shown himself to be a showman,” McEnany said. “I don’t think he is a serious candidate.”