White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded to CNN's reporting on her past rhetoric about President Trump by turning the tables on the liberal network, slamming the outlet for allowing guests to push the Russia collusion narrative after newly-released transcripts from Congressional hearings showed there was no evidence of such collusion.
McEnany, a former CNN commentator, has been a staunch supporter of President Trump -- but wasn't always a fan, judging by remarks she made in 2015, during the GOP primary race.
In cable news clips shared by CNN's "KFile" reporter Andrew Kaczynski, McEnany denounced remarks Trump made about Mexican immigrants during his campaign launch as "racist." She also called him a "showman" and not a "serious candidate."
At Friday's press briefing, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked McEnany if she "still believes" Trump's comments were racist.
"Well, I'm actually glad you asked that because for about the first four weeks of the election, I was watching CNN and I was naively believing some of the headlines that I saw on CNN," McEnany said. "I very quickly came around in support of the president. In fact, CNN hired me. I was on many 8-on-1 panels where I proudly supported this president, who I believe is one of the best presidents, if not the best president this country will ever have."
She continued: "But I would encourage the individual who did that analysis of my past -- rather than focusing on me, he should be focused at some of the very guests CNN chose to have on their network."
McEnany singled out former Director of National Intelligence-turned-CNN analyst James Clapper, who famously stated on air that the Watergate scandal paled in comparison to the Russia investigation. McEnany said that "10 days" after Clapper made that statement, he told investigators behind closed doors there was "no evidence of collusion" between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
She then quoted former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, all of whom could not confirm that there was such evidence that advanced the Russia probe into Trump's campaign.
"For three years, two years -- probably more than that, CNN ran with the collusion narrative and if the American people are watching right now, they're probably very confused as to some of the quotes I've read because those individuals were saying much different things publicly than they were saying privately," McEnany continued. "And I'm very grateful those transcripts were released yesterday. And perhaps the KFile should [do] an analysis of that."
Kaczynski later acknowledged that McEnany addressed his reporting and stressed that she didn't directly answer Alcindor's question. However, the CNN reporter notably shared a Fox News clip of the exchange, since his own network chose not to air the press briefing.
On Wednesday, McEnany similarly came prepared when Reuters' White House correspondent Jeff Mason pressed her about remarks appearing to downplay the coronavirus outbreak when she was working on Trump's reelection campaign.
"In a previous life, before you were press secretary, you worked for the [Trump] campaign. And you made a comment, I believe on Fox, in which you said President Trump will not allow the coronavirus to come into this country. Given what has happened since then, obviously, would you like to take that back?" Mason asked.
McEnany said that during her appearance on Fox Business Network, she was asked about Trump's travel restrictions he had placed on China, noting the "intention" of the president's actions was to prevent the virus from spreading in the U.S.
She added: "Does The New York Times want to take back that fear of the virus may be spreading faster than the virus itself? Does NPR want to take back that the flu was a much bigger threat than the coronavirus? And finally, once again, The Washington Post, would they like to take back that the government should not respond aggressively to the coronavirus?"
The newly-minted press secretary then wrapped up that press conference.
"I'll leave you with those questions and maybe you'll have some answers in a few days," McEnany said before leaving the briefing room.