Ursula: New White House Press Secretary? Why bother?
What is the role of a White House Press Secretary? After nearly 290 days on the job, Stephanie Grisham is going back to work with the First Lady as her chief of staff, with no explanation on the job switch. But it can’t possibly be because she was working too hard.
During Grisham’s tenure, she did not hold one single daily press briefing. NOT ONE. But as the Washington Post points out, she has appeared on the Fox News network more than two dozen times!
The woman who had Grisham’s job previously, Sarah Sanders, held press briefings for a few years, but those devolved into partisan attacks and so much false information that news organizations started fact-checking her in real time. Toward the end of her gig, she stopped holding the briefings because her boss’s Twitter account had basically become the White House press office. Why bother?
So now, there’s a new White House Press Secretary. The fourth for this administration. Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany will look familiar to many of you. She was one of the first pro-Trump pundits on CNN. Now, she is a regular on Fox News and has made many outlandish claims, including one in late February when she was asked if COVID-19 was a threat to President Trump’s re-election. Her response?
“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here. Isn’t it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?”
Some of her tweets from 2012 also show she promoted Trump’s birther conspiracies about Obama. That’s despicable. And yet, we’re supposed to take her seriously?
Unlike Grisham, you can bet that McEnany will be in front of TV cameras and will hold press briefings. But at this point, you have to ask again, why bother?
Speaking to reporters has always been an essential part of the U.S. presidency, dating back to Abraham Lincoln. President Roosevelt had regular press briefings. It was President Nixon who created what we know now as the press briefing room in the White House. No matter the political party, you expect there to be some “spin” to make the President look good, but the role of the White House spokesperson is also to keep the whole country informed of issues of global importance.
Even before her first press briefing, McEnany’s already proven she has zero credibility and she’s willing to stoop really low to appeal to President Trump’s base. And that, I find, is really sad.
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