The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2020

PRESS BRIEFING
BY PRESS SECRETARY KAYLEIGH MCENANY

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room


2:11 P.M. EDT

MS. MCENANY: So, good afternoon. I have an announcement for you on hospital funding as appropriated in the third phase of coronavirus relief.

Advertisement

The Trump administration will distribute a total of $12 billion in Provider Relief Fund payments to 395 hospitals across the country that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. These hospitals have collectively cared for over 70 percent of the 184,000 Americans that required hospital inpatient care. Ten billion of the twelve billion will go towards hospitals treating 100 or more COVID-19 admissions. HHS is distributing an additional $2 billion to these 395 hospitals in proportion to the amount of care they provide to low-income and uninsured patients.

This is consistent with our effort to ensure that Americans who need federal government assistance the most receive it. We’ll be releasing a breakdown of the states receiving this funding and the counties receiving this funding. But for your awareness, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois received the most funding by states, while New York, New York; Bronx, New York; and Cook, Illinois received the most funding by county as determined by our metrics.

Advertisement

Our healthcare providers, as President Trump has repeatedly acknowledged, are our heroes as we work to defeat the invisible enemy. This relief funding will help these heroes defeat this virus. In reacting to CARES relief, I love what this one provider said. So he said, “Thank you and God” -- “Thank you and God for this relief. I have tears in my eyes out of gratitude for these funds. Thank you so, so, so much.”

Additionally, 100 flights as part of Project Airbridge have been completed to date. These flights have expedited nearly 1 billion pieces of PPE for our healthcare heroes.

Advertisement

The third phase of coronavirus relief also included $320 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which, as you all know, provides forgivable loans to small businesses in order to keep their employees on payroll.

This program has been extraordinarily successful during the first round of PPP loans: 1.6 million loans were issued to small businesses. Of those 1.6 million loans, 1 million of them were given to companies with 10 or fewer employees. So it has gone to small businesses and businesses that need it most.

Advertisement

But the PPP -- look, it's not just another government program. This is supporting everyday Americans who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves in this predicament. We saw this firsthand at the White House on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, President Trump welcomed small-business owners and employees to the White House. These small businesses received PPP loans, which helped them pay their employees during the pandemic.

Advertisement

Bitty and Beau’s was among the small businesses welcomed to the White House. Bitty and Beau’s employs 120 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It's a coffee shop not too far away from here. Bitty and Beau’s had to temporarily close its doors, but because of PPP loans, Bitty and Beau’s was able to rehire all of its employees.

I had the real honor of getting to meet Michael Heup. He's one of the employees at Bitty and Beau’s, and he offered some words of encouragement to our country. And they really touched my heart, and I think they'll touch the heart of America, if you guys wouldn't mind playing those remarks.

Advertisement

(A video is played.)

Michael is an incredible young man. I gave him a call yesterday and asked him what he was up to, and he said he and his fellow employees were literally handwriting notes to put in with their coffee packages that they send out to consumers. I received one of these notes from another company, and it really does put a smile on your face. And Michael is doing that each and every day.

Advertisement

And Bitty and Beau’s, they represent the hope and opportunity that is on the horizon for America's workers as their body, their -- their business, rather, embodies the American spirit. Workers, like Michael, show that this country is not broken and that we will recover together.

Michael, thank you. You're an American hero. Thank you for sharing that message of hope.

Advertisement

And with that, I'll take questions. John.

Q Kayleigh, if I could, welcome to the podium for the first time, as well.

MS. MCENANY: Thank you.

Q The markets are down super substantially today after the President yesterday suggested in the East Room that he might use tariffs to punish China over the coronavirus. Is there any serious consideration being given to putting new tariffs on China, or was the President just spit balling yesterday?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Look, I won't get ahead of any announcements from the President, but I will echo the President's displeasure with China. It's no secret that China mishandled this situation.

Just a few examples for you: They did not share the genetic sequence until a professor in Shanghai did so on his own. The very next day, China shut down his lab for, quote, “rectification.” They slow-walked information on human-to-human transmission alongside the World Health Organization and didn't let U.S. investigators in at a very important time.

Advertisement

So we take displeasure with China's actions, but I certainly won't get ahead of the President with those announcements.

Q Is the President seriously considering forcing China to pay some sort of compensation reparations -- whatever word you want to put on it?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Again, when it comes to retaliatory measures, I will not get ahead of the President on that.

Q Thank you, Kayleigh, and welcome to the podium, as well.

MS. MCENANY: Thank you.

Q The President said yesterday that he has a high degree of confidence that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, and yet his own intelligence agencies say they're still investigating. So does the President have information? And has he drawn a conclusion that the intelligence community has not yet?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Look, the President's statement is consistent with the other intelligence assessments. While we continue to have very limited and dubious data from China, current assessments indicated that President Trump's statement is consistent with what some analysts believe is the epicenter of where the virus began.

And I would note that intelligence statement you're referring to really made two points: One, that this virus originated in China. Two, that it began through contact with infected animals or was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan. So I consider that consistent with what the President said: that he's seen intelligence suggesting it could be in the Wuhan laboratory.

Advertisement

Q But he seemed to lean into the idea that this started in a laboratory, whereas the statement that we saw from the DNI said we're still investigating those two options that you just laid out. Is the President in any way creating mixed messages by not saying, “We're still investigating”?

MS. MCENANY: No, you know, let me remind everyone intelligence is just an estimate, essentially, and it's up to policymakers to decide what to do with that intelligence. This -- in this case, the policymaker is the President of the United States, and he'll make that decision at the right time.

Advertisement

Steve.

Q Is the President any close to deciding what to do about China? Has he received any recommendations on the consequences? Is he anywhere near a decision?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Look, again, I won't get ahead of the President's decision or the timing of that decision, but he takes this very seriously because the decisions of China that I referenced -- slow-walking some of that information -- put American lives at risk. And rest assured this President has one priority, and that is the safety and the wellbeing of American lives.

Q Thanks so much, Kayleigh. Welcome. Since it's been more than 100 days since a press secretary stood up there, I wanted to get a better sense of what your plan is. Are you planning to do these in a daily basis at this point? And also, will you pledge never to lie to us from that podium?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.

As to the timing of the briefings, we do plan to do them. I will announce timing of that forthcoming, but we do plan to continue these.

Advertisement

Jon.

Q Kayleigh, welcome to the podium. A question for you on Project Warp Speed. Can you give us some more details? The President said ultimately he's in charge of this project, but will there be a day-to-day point person on this? What's the budget for this project? And when can the American people realistically expect that there will be a vaccine available to everybody?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Well, there is a day-to-day point person, and that's the President the United States, President Trump. And with regard to vaccines, I would note the words of Dr. Fauci, which are these: “Going into a phase one trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionabl[e] the world indoor record. Nothing has ever gone this fast.”

So what the President is doing, and under the President's leadership, we're in phase one faster than ever before, according to Dr. Fauci. And that should encourage the American people.

Advertisement

Q And the budget? And the budget? And then there's really no other point person? I mean, I know the President ultimately -- I guess, the buck stops with the President. But he hasn't put somebody on the -- on the staff?

MS. MCENANY: I'm not -- yeah, I'm not going to get into any details as to exactly how that works. But just rest assured we're on an accelerated pace to a vaccine, at least for this phase one portion of clinical trial.

Advertisement

Yes.

Q Thanks. The Fed yesterday took an action that appeared designed to allow oil companies to access their lending facilities. So I'm wondering if the President has spoken to Chairman Powell about this, if he's happy about the move, and if the White House is considering any additional assistance to the oil companies.

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: So I won't get into the President's personal discussions, but I would just note that the President is always looking out for the nearly 11 million American workers in the oil industry. I would also note that we're filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve right now, and we'll buy 75 million.

So that’s the only announcements I have on the oil front today.

Yes. Toluse.

Q Thank you, Kayleigh. The President tweeted this morning about the protests in Michigan. He essentially said that the governor of Michigan should work with the protestors. He called them “very good people” and said that they are very angry. Some of those protests, I'm sure you saw, included, you know, heavily armed protesters, members of militia groups. I wonder if the President was speaking about those specific members who stormed the capitol in Michigan when he talked about “very good people.”

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Look, the President was referencing, generally, that in this country you have a First Amendment right to protest. I think that's something we all treasure here and we should, rightfully. You have a right to do that constitutionally, but you must protest within the bounds of the law. He encourages everyone to protest lawfully and also to engage in our social distancing guidelines, which we think all Americans should engage in.

Q Did he have any response to just the imagery of, you know, people with long guns, essentially, storming the capitol, going into face-offs with police officers and intimidating, in some way, some of the lawmakers?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Again, the President says, you know, that we must protest lawfully and act within the bounds of the law.

Yes.

Q Thank you for being here. When the President says we did a “spectacular job” or when Jared Kushner talks about a “great success story,” some Americans see it as a lack of empathy. What’s -- do you understand their reaction?

Advertisement

THE PRESIDENT: Look, you know, Jared Kushner has, first of all, done a great job for this administration. And what I would say to that is that -- when he talked about a “success story,” he was talking about the story of this administration, which is a story of mobilization for the American people -- the greatest mobilization of American industry since World War Two.

Of course, we grieve for every American life that has been lost, but we want the American people to be confident in the response of this administration. And that is what he was referring to.

Advertisement

The fact that, in the average year, the healthcare industry uses 25 million N95 masks, and we have delivered in this short time 75 million N95 masks -- more than three times what the healthcare sector uses in a year -- that's extraordinary.

It's extraordinary that, you know, some of the media were saying that we needed a million ventilators. And this President has -- we haven't -- we've needed far short of that so far. And not -- not a single American has died for lack of a ventilator. And the fact that this President can look the American people in the eye and say, “I am producing 100,000 ventilators this year,” alongside the private sector, 100,000 ventilators -- that’s three times what we produce in the average year -- I'd consider that a great success on behalf of the American people.

Advertisement

Q But again, it's more about the tone than the policy itself.

MS. MCENANY: We want to give the American people confidence that they have a federal government that is doing everything in our power to provide the necessary equipment to combat this invisible enemy. We grieve for the American lives. We've said that repeatedly. I will echo that today. My heart breaks for those. I pray regularly for those who are affected by the coronavirus.

Advertisement

But we're going to give confidence to the American people that you have a federal government, under President Donald Trump, that's going to step up and give the greatest mobilization of the private sector since World War Two.

Yes.

Q Thank you so much, Kayleigh. Thanks for being here. President Trump mentioned the situation in Brazil a few times this week. Besides talks of cutting off flights from Brazil, are there talks of -- in terms of sending assistance to Brazil, sending PPE or ventilators to Brazil? And is President Trump planning to talk with President Bolsonaro?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Well, the President has mentioned that he has sent ventilators around the world. Any excess supply, we certainly look to help other countries. But, you know, in terms of a specific announcement regarding Brazil, I don't have any new information for you on that front today.

Q Yeah, Kayleigh, welcome. One of the most important parts of your job, though, is to have access to the President. Can you give us some indication that since you’ve been named press secretary, what kind of access do you have to the President to get what he's thinking and relay it to us?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I can tell you this: I'm around the President almost the entire day. I was just with him before I left to come out and speak with you guys. I think my staff can attest to the fact that they have a very hard time finding me because I'm normally with the President in the Oval Office. So I'm consistently with him absorbing his thinking.

And it's my mission to bring you the mindset of the President, deliver those facts so this President gets fair and accurate reporting, and the American people get fair and accurate information.

Advertisement

Yeah.

Q Thanks, Kayleigh. Just following up on Kristen’s question: China is blocking the World Health Organization from coming in and investigating how this started. Shouldn't external investigators be allowed into Wuhan to determine, one, how the pandemic started, and two, maybe a way that we can expedite finding a cure for this thing?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Look, you know, there's no secret that China stopped U.S. investigators from coming in. It was of paramount importance that we got into China in an expedited fashion, and that didn't happen.

With respect to the World Health Organization, they have some questions of their own to answer. The United States, as the President has emphasized, provides about $400 million to $500 million per year to the WHO, compared to China at roughly $40 million a year. But yet, the WHO appears to have a very clear China bias.

Advertisement

I mean, you look at this timeline and it's really damning for the WHO, when you consider the fact that, on December 31st, you had Taiwanese officials warning about human-to-human transmission. The WHO did not make that public.

On January 9th, the WHO repeated China's claim that the virus, quote, “does not transmit readily between people.” That was quite apparently false.

Advertisement

On January 14th, the WHO again repeated China's talking points about no human-to-human transmission. They praised China's leadership on the 22nd of January.

On the 23rd, they said -- and this is incredible -- “The pandemic didn't represent a public health emergency of international concern.”

Advertisement

And even on February 29th, you had the WHO saying that when the coronavirus was spreading around the world, they -- they chose to put -- excuse me, political correctness first by opposing lifesaving travel restrictions: the travel restrictions this President put in place; the travel restrictions that Dr. Fauci praised as saving lives.

And you have the World Health Organization opposing a measure that saved American lives. That's unacceptable, especially at a time when the U.S. was providing 400 to 500 million dollars.

Advertisement

John.

Q Kayleigh, this time last week the President was saying that he was not happy with Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp for beginning the reopening process, and the way that he was, at the time that he was. A week later, there have been some peaks and valleys in new cases in Georgia, but overall the trend line is down. Do you know what the President is thinking about the Georgia reopening as of today?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Look, the President -- the President is resolute in saying that the states take the lead here. It's the -- the lead -- the decision of governors to decide what is best for their state.

That being said, you know, I’ve -- I talk to the experts, I talk to Dr. Birx, I talk to Dr. Fauci, and they say, rightfully so, this President has always sided on the side of data, which is why he encourages all states to follow the data-driven guidelines to reopening. All states, from Georgia on down the line, should follow those guidelines, but ultimately it is the decision of the states.

Advertisement

And one note I would make about the President: In times of national emergency, we seem to have had a trend in this country where presidents aggregate power at the federal level, but this President has devolved power. He has invested in a principle that I cherish, and I know many others do, which is federalism. And I think that was the right decision.

Q Has he mentioned how he feels about Governor Kemp in the last few days?

MS. MCENANY: I have not spoken to him about Governor Kemp in the last few days.

Yeah.

Q As the President -- on the lines of reopening: As the President pushes forward to reopen the country, does that mean he'll be campaigning in those states where he -- that will be reopening?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: So I would refer you to the Trump campaign on that question.

Yeah.

Q Yeah, thanks for being here, Kayleigh. You mentioned Dr. Fauci a minute ago. Are we going to have any more press briefings with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and the health experts, or is the White House kind of shifting the message to, you know, focus more on the economy and less on the public health aspect?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Well, let me back up and talk to you a little bit about how we approach disseminating information.

You know, when I talk with my colleague Alyssa and we plan out the communication strategy for this White House, along with the President, and Ben as well, you know, what we do is we say, “What is the best mode for the public to receive this information at this time?” And we allow the news cycle and the needs of the American people to guide us.

Advertisement

And, you know, at the moment, what we see happening -- and I hinted at this in my gaggle last week -- is you have 35 states, and probably more at this point, with plans to reopen the country. Americans are looking to reopening the country.

We've had Dr. Birx in several events this week. They've been -- Dr. Birx and Fauci -- out on the airwaves. They're really incredible people and done a great service for this country.

Advertisement

But we allow the news of the day to guide us, what the American people need to hear. And right now, we're in a reopening phase, which is why you've seen the President this week with CEOs. You've seen him with small-business owners, with small-business employees. Today, with some great heroes that have emerged from this pandemic and have done a lot of the hard work.

So every day we approach this as, “How can we disseminate this information?” There's a need for information, which is why I'm here supplementing the efforts of this President to get the message out.

Advertisement

I would also note he's the most accessible President in history. He took questions twice yesterday, twice the day before. You hear from him quite often, as well -- as well as our medical experts.

Q So is the task force still meeting? I guess, what's the role of the Coronavirus --

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Yes, the --

Q -- Task Force? We still have, you know, hundreds of people a day are dying. So does it -- what role does the task force have versus the economic advisory groups?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Yeah, the task force meets regularly. I go to those meetings. I hear them. We are -- Dr. Birx, I should say, is meticulously reviewing the data in granular detail. I watched them spend sometimes the upwards of two hours in these task force briefings.

So those are still ongoing. Rest assured we want a safe reopening. So we are prioritizing the health of the American people, as well as looking forward to reopening this country.

Advertisement

Q Yes, thank you, Kayleigh. Back to the DNI statement from yesterday. There is a quote that I'd you to give me a response to. It said, "The intelligence community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified." This was from the DNI statement. How do you see this statement? How do you understand this?

And also there was a piece in The New York Times that says senior Trump administration officials have pushed intelligence agencies to hunt for evidence to support the theory that COVID-19 was made in a Wuhan laboratory.

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: I can assure you that no one is pressing the intelligence community to come to a determination. The intelligence community statement stands. It's in perfect concert with what the President said. So, you know, I encourage the media to convey the facts to the American people, which is that we're in line as an administration and we stand by the intelligence community, and that is in complete concert with what the President said yesterday.

Let’s see. Who haven't I gotten to? Oh, I've gotten to almost everyone.

Q It's easy.

MS. MCENANY: Okay, so we're in round two. That’s great. Yes.

Q Thank you. Today, former Vice President Joe Biden denied allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Does President Trump take him at his word given that, as the President has said, he has denied allegations against himself?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Well, what I would say is that we are pleased that the former Vice President has decided to go on the record. It took him less than -- what? -- 16 hours to follow the advice of the President of the United States and come out and publicly address those claims. So, you know, we're glad to see that he's on the record on this.

Q Let me just ask you about something the President said moments ago in an interview. He said that Tara Reade is, quote, “far more compelling than anything they had with respect to Brett Kavanaugh." What did he mean by that? What is "more compelling"?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: You know, that's the President's assessment, so I would point you back to his words. I think it was a grave miscarriage of justice what happened with Justice Brett Kavanaugh. I -- there's no need for me to bring up some of the salacious, awful, and verifiably false allegations that were made against Justice Kavanaugh. That was an embarrassment for the Democrat Party to have dragged the name of a very respectable man through the mud like that. So I'll leave it at that.

Q Yes. Kayleigh, as the radio pooler, I'm asking this on behalf of our colleague. There is word the decision to release Michael Cohen from prison to home confinement due to COVID-19 has been reversed. Did the White House directly or indirectly intervene here?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: No. So, absolutely not, I would say there.

But I am glad that you brought up justice and -- because, look, there's, again, a case of injustice that is yet to be brought up today. But I certainly would like to bring it up, and that's the case of General Michael Flynn.

Advertisement

What we've all learned from that should scare every American citizen. The fact that you had Jim Comey admitting in December of last year that he violated a protocol by directing agents to confront Flynn -- something that he would not, quote, "have gotten away with" under previous administrations. The FBI told Flynn he didn't need a lawyer when they came to meet with him. McCabe told FBI agents that he didn't think Flynn was lying, and then all of that information we've learned over the last few months and years culminates in the fact that we have a handwritten FBI note that says, quote, "We need to get [Flynn] to lie," quote, and "get him fired."

That was -- there was an unfar -- unfair target on the back of General Michael Flynn. It should concern every American anytime there's a partisan pursuit of an individual. And that's certainly -- at least those questions are raised with regard to General Michael Flynn, an honorable man who served his country.

Advertisement

Jon.

Q Yeah, Kayleigh, on that: When the President fired Michael Flynn, he said he was doing so because he had lied to the Vice President and he had lied to the FBI. So, given all that you've just said, isn't it -- isn't it still true? Doesn't the President still believe that Michael Flynn lied to Vice President Pence and lied to the FBI?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: Well, first, let me address that. Vice President Pence is on the record about this. He said he's inclined to believe that Flynn did not intentionally mislead him. And, I guess, I would turn the question on you and just ask: Does it trouble you that the FBI said we got to get Flynn to lie? Doesn't that trouble you as a journalist and not only that -- as an American citizen?

Q Well, it's certainly something worth reporting.

MS. MCENANY: Absolutely.

Q It's not my job to say whether or not it's troubling. But -- but the bottom line is the President said, point blank, that Flynn lied to the FBI and to the Vice President. And I'm just asking you a very direct question: Does he still believe that Michael Flynn lied to the FBI and lied to the Vice President?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: And again, I’d point you to the Vice President's statement --

Q I’m asking you about the President.

MS. MCENANY: -- that he's inclined to believe that Flynn did not intentionally mislead him. And I'm asking back that all of you in your coverage endeavor to report what is a very scary story when the FBI is saying, "Let us get someone to lie." I've seen very scant coverage of that. It's a story worth reporting and a story that I hope the American people, if you haven't heard it yet, are getting to hear for the very first time.

Advertisement

Q So does the President think he lied still?

MS. MCENANY: Chanel?

Q Thank you, Secretary McEnany. Going back to the South China Sea, we had an issue come up this morning where you had the USS Barry crossing international maritime waters. And then -- this in the South China Sea. And Chinese officials are saying that this will be a dead-end endeavor.

Advertisement

Does -- has the President spoken with any of the -- any side on Chinese, as far as what the United States is going to continue doing? Is the U.S. Navy going to just ignore these threats and keep going through these international waters? What are your responses to China's increasing aggression in the South China Sea again?

MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I have no news report as to the President's conversations. And for the specifics of that, I would redirect you to the NSC. Yes.

Advertisement

Q Thanks. In the same podcast interview, the President said that Democrats would, quote, "have to give us a lot" for aid to states. I'm wondering if you have any idea of what specifically the White House or the President is asking for. And secondly, what you'd say to somebody like Governor Cuomo that says, you know: The President has already told me that, you know, a few weeks ago that he would support this type of assistance. And why are we bailing out, you know, airlines or defense contractors, but not the states that play -- that pay teachers or first responders?

MS. MCENANY: Well, first, you brought up Governor Cuomo, so I just thought it's a good time to remind everyone that Governor Cuomo has praised the President's response in this COVID-19 crisis, saying that what the President has achieved is a “phenomenal accomplishment.” And we thank Governor Cuomo for those very kind words.

Advertisement

But, on that note, with regard to funding to states, phase four is something that we want to start negotiating -- negotiating on immediately and get to work on. The President has said, "Look, I will certainly look to consider helping states who have coronavirus reasons for the financial situation they find themselves in," but he doesn't want this to be an excuse for decades and decades of bad Democrat governance that have run some of these states into a financial predicament. So he has mentioned that.

In terms of the types of things he wants to see in this phase four, I don't want to get ahead of the negotiations, but I do want to emphasize that he has mentioned sanctuary cities. This is a really important issue that has cost American lives.

Advertisement

Last year, our brave ICE officers arrested more than 120,000 criminal aliens charged with nearly 10,000 burglaries, 5,000 sexual assaults, 45,000 violent assaults, 2,000 murders, and in the last year, egregiously 5,000 human trafficking episodes.

So American lives matter. Our brave ICE men and women matter. And it's something that he's mentioned he would like to see in a phase four.

Advertisement

Q Well, I mean, you raised that, and the President has been kind of vague about this. Are you explicitly conditioning state aid on states or cities not saying that they would have sanctuary city policies?

MS. MCENANY: No, I'm not. No, not conditioning anything, but saying that is a negotiation item that the President will certainly bring up.

Advertisement

Q Thanks very much. So the President has in the past denied any of the allegations from the many women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. But from that podcast today, you seem to suggest the allegations that Tara Reade has raised are more -- what did we say? -- credible than the ones against Brett Kavanaugh. What about the allegations that were raised against him, however? Why should the public -- or what makes them any less credible than the allegations from Tara Reade?

MS. MCENANY: The President has swiftly denied all of these allegations that were raised four years ago. He has always told the truth on these issues. He's denied them immediately. And you're bringing up issues, like I said, from four years ago that were asked and answered. And the American people had their say in the matter when they elected President Trump as President of the United States.

Advertisement

But, you know, the media -- leave it to the media to really take an issue about the former Vice President and turn it on the President and bring up accusations from four years ago that were asked and answered in the form of the vote of the American people.

Q Can I just come back, Kayleigh, to Jon's question? Because Kellyanne Conway spoke to this the other day and suggested that two things could be true at the same time. We now have the Vice President saying it's his belief that General Flynn may have unintentionally misled him. That's now three years after the fact. But the two things that could have been true at the same time were that Flynn lied to the Vice President and also lied to the FBI. If you remove the FBI piece of that, would the President still have fired Michael Flynn for his belief that he had lied, at that point, to the Vice President?

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: I mean, I'm not going to engage in a hypothetical, and that's essentially what that would be. But what I would say is -- echo yet again that this was a grave miscarriage of justice. I am very glad that the FBI thought to keep a paper trail, because what many have said for a very long time, pointing to the first few facts I shared with you, culminating in that handwritten note, I'm glad they kept such good documentation of their intent to slow-walk General Flynn into a trap and to essentially create, as I mentioned, a grave miscarriage of justice.

So, FBI, at least we can thank you for the great notetaking.

Q Let me follow up on that, though. John does bring up the point that General Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Advertisement

MS. MCENANY: I'm not going to get involved in what was a matter of --

Q Well, how is that a miscarriage of justice, though, in a sense?

MS. MCENANY: Do you not consider it a miscarriage of justice when you have the FBI writing, "We want to get someone to lie"? Is that a miscarriage of justice?

Advertisement

Q But in the end, he pleaded guilty. That's --

MS. MCENANY: You hesitated because you know what the answer is. The answer is yes.

Advertisement

Q That’s up to a lot of other people to decide.

MS. MCENANY: And I would encourage the media to cover it, because I've watched a lot of your networks, I've read a lot of your papers. I've seen a whole lot of scant information about Michael Flynn, when there was a whole lot of speculation about "Russia, Russia, Russia" culminating in $40 million of taxpayer money being lost and the complete and total exoneration of President Trump.

Advertisement

Thank you guys so much. I'm going to cut this short now and go see my little five-month-old here in a few hours.

Let me just say this: The President at 5:00 p.m. leaves today for Camp David. It's going to be a working weekend. He'll be talking with heads of states, with elected officials. We have a great event coming up this afternoon.

Advertisement

And, of course, everyone should watch the Fox News Town Hall with the President from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. It'll be a can't-miss television, much like the highly rated President Trump Coronavirus Task Force briefings have been.

Thank you.

END 2:43 P.M. EDT


============================================================


Public Pool is an automated feed of White House press pool reports. For live updates, follow @WHPublicPool on Twitter.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter