In the latest White House shakeup, President Trump named former campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany his press secretary. Stephanie Grisham, who most recently held the post, was named First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff. McEnany's tenure includes a stint as a Republican National Committee spokesperson. In addition, she worked as "a token pro-Trump CNN contributor during the 2016 race," as Vanity Fair put it.
With presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders—who has dropped out of the race—and Joe Biden cancelling in-person rallies, the Trump campaign has faced sharp criticism about its "business as usual" approach to gatherings.
McEnany, though, is not a stranger to on-air pressure. On Fox News in mid-March, and in line with the Trump administration’s continued attacks on the media, McEnany told Trump loyalist Stuart Varney—who broke stride to point out Dr. Anthony Fauci’s stance on avoiding crowd-forming—that "the media’s best hope is for Donald Trump to suspend his rallies…so we’re going to follow the president’s lead, we’re not going to cave to the media."
McEnany’s wobbly pivot from Varney’s attack on rallies to an attack on Joe Biden’s campaign strategy is also on-brand for the Trump camp’s all-out-offensives in its communications. Still, it seems Fox News is an increasingly unfriendly venue for Trump, with staunch supporter Tucker Carlson also breaking sharply with the administration’s laissez-faire approach to the coronavirus response.
(It almost goes without saying that communications with CNN and MSNBC have broken down.) Whatever the news outlet, McEnany is likely to carry Trump's torch, fighting fire with fire when it comes to media scrutiny of the administration's coronavirus response.
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