White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany conducted the first formal White House press briefing in over a year on Friday and hinted that it could be a regular occurrence -- if the news cycle and needs of Americans call for it.
President Trump takes questions from reporters on a regular basis and the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room has been used for almost-daily coronavirus task force briefings, but McEnany is the first press secretary to stand at the podium in roughly 416 days.
Stephanie Grisham, who McEnany replaced last month, never conducted a formal briefing. Trump’s first Press Secretary Sean Spicer sparred with reporters on a regular basis and his successor, Sarah Sanders initially continued the tradition but eventually, the briefings were phased out. McEnany told reporters that the briefings are back, but declined to elaborate on the schedule.
“I will never lie to you, you have my word on that,” McEnany said at her first briefing. “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.”
McEnany said she is always around the president, which will lead to her conveying a “fair and accurate” message.
“I’m consistently with him, absorbing his thinking and it’s my mission to bring you the mindset of the president,” she said.
McEnany was later asked if the White House was pivoting away from coronavirus task force briefings.
“Let me back up and talk to you a little about how we approach disseminating information… when we plan out the communication strategy for this White House, along with the president, what we do is 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,” she said. “At the moment, what we see happening… you have 35 states, probably more at this point, with plans to re-open the country. Americans are looking to re-open the country.”
McEnany then explained that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx have made other media appearances in recent days but formal briefings will happen as needed.
“They’re really incredible people and have done a great service for this country,” McEnany said. “But we allow the news of the day to guide u, what the American people need to hear, and right now we’re in a re-opening phase which is why you’ve seen the president this week with CEO, you’ve seen him with small business owners, small business employees, today with some great heroes that have emerged from this pandemic.”