During her first briefing as White House press secretary on Friday, Kayleigh McEnany pledged never to lie to the press corps. Asked by a reporter if she would pledge on the spot never to lie, she responded, “I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.”
She also promised she plans to continue holding briefings, which was notable, given that Friday’s was the first one in 417 days. Her predecessor, Stephanie Grisham, didn’t hold a single briefing in her 10 months as press secretary.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served in the role before Grisham, stopped holding them three months before she left the position. The first press secretary in President Donald Trump’s administration, Sean Spicer, was repeatedly accused of making false and misleading claims from the podium.
McEnany held her own during her first appearance at the podium. When asked about how much access she has to the president, she explained that she is “consistently with him, absorbing his thinking.”
It’s unclear if the emergence of McEnany’s briefings would affect the televised coronavirus briefings that have become a daily occurrence — and the subject of considerable pushback given Trump’s sometimes rambling, off-the-cuff remarks. “We allow the news of the day to guide us,” McEnany said of the COVID-19 response briefings. “I encourage the media to convey the facts to the American people.”
McEnany also announced that the Trump administration will send $12 billion to 395 hospitals that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus — with facilities in New York, New Jersey and Illinois on tap to receive the most funding.