Press Secretary Shares Personal Story of Mastectomy & Trump's Support to Defend Him on Pre-Existing Conditions

Kayleigh McEnany told the deeply personal story at the Republican National Convention while saying the president wants to shield patients with pre-existing conditions, despite his record otherwise

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaking Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention. Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Appearing Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany shared a deeply personal story of her health struggles that she said proved President Donald Trump supports patients with pre-existing conditions, despite his record otherwise.

The administration spokeswoman was previously unscheduled to appear during the RNC, before Fox News reported Wednesday morning that she would deliver her remarks that night.

McEnany, 32, said she was speaking because she wanted to share how she says Trump supported her as someone who had a pre-emptive double mastectomy to avoid breast cancer.

She said she had tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation when she was 21, which is "associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in both men and women," according to the National Institutes of Health.

McEnany said she then decided to get the breast surgery to limit her chances at getting breast cancer.

"I was scared," she remembered. "The night before I fought back tears as I prepared to lose a piece of myself forever."

She added: "But the next day with my mom, dad, husband, and Jesus Christ by my side, I underwent a mastectomy, almost eliminating my chance of breast cancer — a decision I now celebrate."

McEnany said Trump, 74, supported her by calling to check up on her after she came out of the May 2018 surgery. She also said Trump's daughter Ivanka, a White House senior adviser, also called to follow up on her. (McEnany had recounted the details of the surgery in a 2019 Fox News op-ed but didn't previously mention either of the Trumps' calls.)

“I was blown away," she said in remembering the call before insisting "this president stands by Americans with pre-existing conditions."

However, one of Trump's primary goals in office has been to remove the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 and better known as Obamacare, which includes a popular provision that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health insurance.

Kayleigh McEnany
New White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany looks on during a signing ceremony for the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty

Republicans failed to repeal the ACA throughout 2017, having disagreed on the logistics of a law that would replace it.

In teasing an executive order protecting pre-existing conditions this summer, Trump falsely claimed such an action “has never been done before," ignoring his predecessor's efforts to protect such conditions.

Trump has often said he will preserve protections for patients with pre-existing conditions despite his attacks on the ACA.

Although it was an executive order for something already protected under Obama's 2010 law, Trump told reporters earlier this month that his additional mandate would provide “a double safety net” for protecting pre-existing conditions and to “let people know that the Republicans are totally, strongly in favor of ... taking care of people with pre-existing conditions," Reuters reported

More than 20 million people are covered under the ACA, which the Trump administration has asked the courts to invalidate.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against the law on Nov. 10, one week after the election between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, NBC News reports. The court will then make a decision on the matter next summer.

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