Kayleigh McEnany Insists She 'Never Lied' as While Press Secretary - Though Fact-Checkers Say Otherwise
Last September, she told reporters that Donald Trump "never downplayed" COVID-19, though he had admitted otherwise
While she regularly made headlines for sparring with reporters while serving as President Donald Trump's spokeswoman - and once falsely claimed that he had "never downplayed" COVID-19 - Kayleigh McEnany insists now that she didn't lie during her time as White House press secretary.
Speaking at an event held by the conservative group Turning Point USA over the weekend, McEnany credited her faith, in part, for how she dealt with reporters.
"And then there was the question, 'Will you ever lie to us?' And I said without hesitation, 'No', and I never did," she told the crowd.
McEnany - a Harvard Law School graduate and longtime political aide and commentator - continued: "As a woman of faith, as a mother of baby Blake, as a person who meticulously prepared at some of the world's hardest institutions, I never lied. I sourced my information, but that will never stop the press from calling me a liar."
Because of that, she continued, she came up with a motto for her White House press shop under her tenure: "Offense only."
"Republicans always get the bad headlines. Always get the false stories. Always get the lies - if I can use that word - told by the press ... We must be on offense," she said.
The fourth and final press secretary in the Trump White House, which saw spokespeople come and go at an unusually high rate, McEnany succeeded Sean Spicer - who used his first briefing with reporters to lie about Trump's inauguration crowd size - and Sarah Sanders and Stephanie Grisham.
McEnany vowed in her first press briefing to "never lie."
Still, she left the White House with a reputation as a fierce defender of her boss and with his same penchant for spreading misinformation and falsehoods.
Some of her past misstatements include telling reporters in a September 2020 briefing that Trump's health care proposal meant to replace the Affordable Care Act would be unveiled in "about two weeks," despite it never being released during his time in office.
In May 2020, during her first briefing as press secretary, McEnany claimed that Robert Mueller's report about the investigation into President Trump and Russian officials ended with "the complete and total exoneration of President Trump."
The report instead concluded that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."
One month before becoming press secretary, McEnany also made headlines for saying, "We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here." The disease has since swept the globe and the nation, leading to some 600,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.
Last September, she also told reporters Trump "never downplayed the virus," though he admitted the opposite to journalist Bob Woodward because, he said, he didn't want to create a panic. "I wanted to always play it down, I still like playing it down," Trump told Woodward.
The fact-checking group PolitiFact rated McEnany's claim "pants on fire" - meaning "the statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim."
And after Trump lost re-election, McEnany insisted, without offering evidence, that Democrats were "welcoming fraud" and "welcoming illegal voting," (claims that led Fox News to cut away from one of her press conferences).
Since leaving the White House, McEnany has joined the Fox News network as a contributor. In an interview earlier this year with Fox News' The Faulkner Focus, McEnany spoke of her handoff to current Press Secretary Jen Psaki, saying that she left her successor a note and wished her "all the best."
"I left her a note saying that much," said McEnany, adding that she has met Psaki previously and "she was very kind and so were some of her colleagues in the press shop."