CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta took on White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany during a heated press conference Wednesday — and once again the press secretary, a rising star, got the better of the exchange.
“Will the president or the White House take responsibility if people get sick and catch the coronavirus at this rally on Saturday?” Acosta asked McEnany.
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“The campaign has taken certain measures to make sure this is a safe rally,” she replied. “Temperature checks, hand sanitizers, and masks. So we are taking precautions.”
“But you’re not requiring people to wear masks,” Acosta replied.
“They will be given a mask. It will be up to them to make that decision,” McEnany replied. “CDC guidelines are recommended, but not required.”
“CDC guidelines suggest that people practice social distancing. In this instance, they will not be able to practice social distancing at a rally with thousands of people,” Acosta continued. “Aren’t you, in essence, bringing people to a rally where they won’t be abiding by those guidelines?”
McEnany was ready.
“It’s a personal choice of individuals on what to do,” she said. “But if we want to talk about internal coherence, I believe it’s the media that needs to work on internal coherence.”
She pulled out a copy of The New York Post that showed two scenes – a massive protest where thousands of people are unmasked and touching, and a small political rally with people wearing masks. One is fine, the other is dangerous?
“This wonderful New York Post story … highlights the hypocrisy of the media. This is okay: Protesting,” she said, pointing out the massive crowd of thousands. “This is not okay: Trump rallies?” pointing to the picture of social distanced pro-Trump supporters.
“That’s really remarkable, and I think the American people have taken notice when, for instance, NBC tweets at 4:05 p.m. on June 14th, ‘Rally for black trans lives draws packed crowd to Brooklyn museum plaza’ – seemingly lauding the protests,” she said. “Less than an hour and a half later, they say ‘President Trump plans to rally, but health experts are questioning that decision.’”
“CBS had a similarly, logically inconsistent Tweet,” she continued.
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McEnany was referencing the following —
yesterday, @NBCNews tweets how Americans are “coming together” for a BLM / Black trans rally in Brooklyn… an hour later they tweet how the upcoming Trump rally is said to be an “extraordinarily dangerous” gathering of people. The #FakeNewsMedia does not even hide their BIAS pic.twitter.com/LVFkJocAB7
— JDRSC92 (@jdrsc92) June 15, 2020
Acosta interrupted her.
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“These are protesters that are protesting against injustice, racism, and police brutality,” the CNN reported said. “This is a rally. A political rally. There’s not going to be demonstrators for any kind of cause other than supporting the president. And I go back to my original question: Will the White House, will the president take responsibility if people catch the coronavirus and get sick?”
Acosta implied that most Trump supporters at his political rallies are “elderly” and at significant risk.
McEnany responded that the president’s supporters are also rallying for justice, equality, and a better and more fair America.
“I’ve taken five of your questions,” she replied, holding up the newspaper showing what the media considers “fine” and what’s considered “dangerous.”
“Work on your own internal cohesion and you can get back to me,” she said.
We have a video of the exchange below, but the press briefing was troubled with audio issues that were later corrected – after the McEnany and Acosta exchange.
The Horn editorial team