Kayleigh McEnany Just Tried to Claim That Trump Doesn't Use the Term 'Kung Flu' and People Have the Same Response
President Donald Trump's fourth White House Press Secretary—Kayleigh McEnany—took the podium for her first briefing (and the first White House Press Briefing in over a year) early last month.
She began with a pledge never to lie to the White House correspondents or to the American people. Given that McEnany's job is to defend a man who's made a documented 18,000+ "false or misleading claims" since his inauguration, people took the pledge with a grain of salt.
Sure enough, McEnany proceeded to tell multiple lies minutes later.
Now, her most recent briefing on Monday afternoon indicated that she had no intentions of stopping.
McEnany was addressing the President's use of the term "Kung Flu"—a racist nickname for the virus that's upended daily life in the United States—at his rally on Saturday night.
Watch him use the term below.
President Trump calls the coronavirus "Kung Flu" during his address at Trump Tusla Rally pic.twitter.com/o0b54vebqE
— The Intensified Report (@TheIntensifiedR) June 21, 2020
According to McEnany however, the President doesn't use the term.
Reporter: “Last year, President Trump declared himself the least racist person anywhere in the world. Why does he use racist phrases like the 'Kung Flu?'"@PressSec: “The President doesn't. — He is linking it to its place of origin."
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 22, 2020
"The President doesn't [use the term]. What the President does do is point to the fact that the origin of the virus is China. It's a fair thing to point out as China tries to ridiculously rewrite history."
People instantly recalled the Press Secretary's first-day promise as she denied to reporters that the President used the term, despite him repeating it to cheers from his supporters at the rally.
I for one am surprised Kayleigh McEnany has broken her promise to not lie to the American people.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) June 22, 2020
Well I guess @PressSec @kayleighmcenany lied when she said that she'd never lie. pic.twitter.com/6qkDUM379X
— Jamie Schler (@lifesafeast) June 22, 2020
Her promise to not lie to the American public is going well.
— Jordan (@Descender421) June 22, 2020
Remember that first day when @PressSec said she's never lie?
That was a lie.
You're wasting your life, Kay'... https://t.co/O49ESaj1YH
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) June 22, 2020
The exchange is even more notable when the context is considered.
CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang was the one to ask McEnany the question about Trump's use of the term.
The words "Kung Flu" came to national attention in March when Jiang, who is Chinese American, said on Twitter that a White House official used the term in her presence.
This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu" to my face. Makes me wonder what they're calling it behind my back.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) March 17, 2020
White House officials immediately began implying that Jiang was lying, and Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway demanded that Jiang reveal the official who said this to her, calling the usage "wrong" and "hurtful."
^^ Trump senior counselor Kellyanne Conway on calling coronavirus “kung flu," when it was reported an anonymous WH aide had used the term.
Trump just used it on stage at his rally.pic.twitter.com/4KoeaQZM4y
— Ian Sams (@IanSams) June 21, 2020
Only three months later, Trump would be using it onstage at his rally.
While McEnany insisted that Trump was just highlighting that the virus originated in China, Jiang rightly pointed out the spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans correlating with Trump's usage of terms like "Chinese virus" and other differentiations from the virus's scientific name.
PBS News Hour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor and others asked McEnany to elaborate on the comments as well, to no avail.
.@PressSec was asked by @weijia, @kaitlancollins, myself and others about the president using the term "kung-flu" and she doubled down on its appropriateness.
I asked what she made of Kellyanne Conway calling the term "wrong and highly offensive" in March. She wouldn't answer.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) June 22, 2020
Where is the region of "Kung" located on a map of China?
— Richard J Nisbet (@coachnez9) June 22, 2020
So while we're at it let's change the name of Spanish flu to the name of the place it originated: that would be Kansas.
— Jeffrey1 (@Jeffrey1Brooks) June 22, 2020
Sorry @PressSec this doesn't fly and it is HIGHLY offensive!
— KatinaHat (@KatinaHat22) June 22, 2020
I thought that was the excuse when they called it the “Wuhan Flu" and the “Chinese Virus"? Note to press: they're liars. Stop taking them at their word.
— Jason Grant (@jase0910) June 22, 2020
Jiang recently exchanged tense words with Trump at a White House briefing where he told her to "ask China" about the virus.