Kayleigh McEnany | Srivideo
Born/Date of Birth: April 18, 1988
Place of Birth: Tampa, Florida, United States
Political party: Republican
Spouse(s): Sean Gilmartin (m. 2017)
Education: Georgetown University (BS)
University of Miami
Harvard University (JD)
Kayleigh McEnany (born April 18, 1988) is an American political commentator and author who is currently serving as the 31st White House press secretary.
McEnany began her media career as a producer for Huckabee on Fox News and later worked as a political analyst for CNN. She has supported President Donald Trump since he announced his campaign for presidency. In 2017, she was appointed national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. In February 2020, she was named national press secretary for Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign and on April 7, 2020 was appointed as White House press secretary.
Early life and education
Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, McEnany is the daughter of commercial roofing company owner Michael McEnany and Leanne McEnany. McEnany was educated at the Academy of the Holy Names, a Catholic preparatory school in Tampa. After leaving school, she majored in international politics at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C., during which she studied abroad at the St Edmund Hall, Oxford. After graduating from Georgetown, McEnany spent three years as a producer on the Mike Huckabee Show.
From there, McEnany enrolled at the University of Miami School of Law, before transferring to Harvard Law School. Huckabee said that "one of the reasons [McEnany] went on to law school was because she didn’t see she was going to have an on-air opportunity at Fox anytime soon." According to the Miami School of Law, McEnany was the recipient of the Bruce J. Winick Award for Excellence, a scholarship awarded to students in the top 1% of their class. She graduated from Harvard in 2016.
As a college student, McEnany interned for several politicians, including Tom Gallagher, Adam Putnam, and George W. Bush, and later worked in the White House Office of Communications, where she wrote media briefings.
While in law school, McEnany appeared on CNN as a paid commentator and often defended Donald Trump, whom she supported in the 2016 presidential election. On August 5, 2017, she left her position at CNN. The following day, she hosted a 90 second webcast, Real News Update on Trump's personal Facebook page. She praised the president throughout the segment, saying she had brought the “real news” to the American people.
Former employer Mike Huckabee has called her a "meticulous researcher” and "extraordinarily prepared." Her rapid occupational success was noted by Van Jones, CNN commentator and liberal activist who worked with her at CNN, "I’m not trying to defend the messaging, but what I hope people can acknowledge is there's very few people in either party who can accomplish what Kayleigh has accomplished in such a short time... People keep taking her lightly, and they keep regretting it."
Republican political strategist
McEnany has been closely associated with the Republican party since she was in college. Consistent with that association, she was critical of the Obama presidency. In 2012, McEnany released a tweet that referenced Obama's birth certificate and his half-brother Malik Obama, who lives in Kenya. In one of them she wrote: "How I Met Your Brother -- Never mind, forgot he's still in that hut in Kenya." Some in the media subsequently accused McEnany of contributing to the "birther movement".
In 2017, she responded to claims it was hypocritical of Trump to visit his golf course while president by mistakenly claiming that President Obama rushed off to a golf game after the 2002 beheading of Daniel Pearl. Obama was a state senator at the time of Pearl's murder. McEnany later apologized for the comment, noting that Obama went golfing after the 2014 murder of another journalist James Foley who was beheaded by ISIS in Syria. Obama, who was vacationing on Martha's Vineyard at the time, admitted that he should have "anticipated the optics" of golfing immediately after making a press statement on Foley's death.
On August 7, 2017, the Republican National Committee appointed McEnany as its national spokesperson. Accepting her appointment, McEnany said in a press release, "I am excited to be joining the RNC at such an important and historic time in our country. I'm eager to talk about Republican ideas and values and have important discussions about issues affecting Americans across this country." As Republican National Committee spokeswoman, she supported Trump in the aftermath of the 2017 conflict over the attempt to remove Confederate General Lee's statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. McEnany tweeted that the Republican party supported the president's "message of love and inclusiveness."
On 28 August 2019, McEnany told CNN’s Chris Cuomo: “I don’t believe the president has lied.” In her article, Williamson noted "her defence of her boss — and her castigations of the press — appear to be unperturbed by (Trump's) shifting narratives, (his) breaks from logic and (his) flights of fantasy."
In the weeks prior to her appointment as White House press secretary, McEnany praised Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, "This president will always put America first, he will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here, we will not see terrorism, and isn't that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of Barack Obama?” In a radio interview on the "Pat Miller Show" on March 11, McEnany said Democrats were trying "to politicize" the coronavirus and that Democrats were almost "rooting for this outcome."
In the weeks following her remarks, as the virus continued to spread, and thousands of Americans died, McEnany was criticized for these comments. In a USA Today article, author Grant Stern said "Kayleigh McEnany is coming to the White House with new "alternative facts" about #coronavirus. The rest of the world calls them lies." McEnany claimed the criticisms were "ridiculous spin".
White House press secretary
After Mark Meadows replaced Mick Mulvaney as White House chief of staff in April 2020, Meadows' first personnel change was hiring McEnany as White House press secretary on April 7, 2020; which was officially announced the next day. Stephanie Grisham, who had served in the role and as White House communications director since June 2019, became Melania Trump's chief of staff and spokesperson.
In April 2020, McEnany backed up Trump's assertion that the World Health Organization had shown a "clear bias towards China." She claimed the WHO put Americans at risk by "repeating inaccurate claims peddled by China during the coronavirus pandemic" and "opposing the United States' life-saving travel restrictions."
When Trump was criticized for suggesting that disinfectant could be injected into people to kill the coronavirus, McEnany said that the president's remarks were simply taken out of context - although Trump later claimed he was posing a sarcastic question to the reporters.
On May 1, 2020, as part of her first public press briefing, McEnany was asked by an Associated Press reporter: “Will you pledge to never lie to us from that podium?” Without hesitation, McEnany replied: “I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.” Some news outlets claimed that McEnany then made a number of false claims in spite of her statement. On the subject of Trump’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic, she then claimed: “This president has always sided on the side of data”. In response to allegations of Trump's sexual misconduct, McEnany said: “He has always told the truth”.
Political commentator, Kurt Bardella, tweeted that from the Trump team’s point of view, McEnany was doing the best job (so far) at the podium than anyone else who has served as press secretary.
McEnany married Sean Gilmartin, a professional baseball pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays organization, in November 2017. The couple has one daughter, Blake, born in November 2019.
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