Former White House-turned Fox News contributor Kayleigh McEnany mocked Biden White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki over the latter’s constant refrain of telling reporters she’ll “circle back” at some future point to actually answer their questions.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends,” McEnany discussed her stint as one of former President Donald Trump’s three spokespersons during his tenure and how her style differed from that of Psaki, who was a spokeswoman for the State Department during Barack Obama’s presidency.
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Co-host Brian Kilmeade kicked off the segment by noting that press secretaries often tote “big binders” with them and have them out as they provide briefings and answer reporters’ questions. He added that McEnany, who is a lawyer by education, always seemed to have answers “almost every single time” and could also anticipate where reporters were headed in their line of questioning.
He went on to play a montage of Psaki telling reporters she would “circle back” with them or referred them to another federal agency rather than answer their questions outright.
“You can’t anticipate every question, but is that acceptable?” Kilmeade said with a laugh, after playing the clip. “It’s like you’re a crossing guard.”
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“I’ve said before, and I mean it, I wish Jen Psaki all the best. It’s a very hard job. But that being said, you know, we took great pains in our administration to do hours and hours and hours of research beforehand, days sometimes,” McEnany responded.
She further explained that she always knew and understood where President Trump was on issues and that she frequently called the various agency and department heads to get answers she would need during briefings.
“Unlike other press secretaries that maybe didn’t have walk-in privileges to the Oval [Office], I could walk in at any time … Before every press conference, I would go in with a list of items that I thought the press would ask, and go through one by one. I always knew where his head was at, so I didn’t have to do a ton of circling back because President Trump gave a lot of access to me,” McEnany concluded.
“I have heard from people in the press room that they actually do eventually get back to the reporter and try to answer their question, either Jen Psaki or somebody from the communications team. Just not on camera,” host Steve Doocy added.
While McEnany appeared gracious and understanding regarding Psaki, the Biden spokeswoman was far less so when she took over the podium.
Within seconds after beginning her first brief last month, Psaki took a thinly veiled shot at her predecessor.
“Thank you for joining us on this historic day. It’s an honor to be here with all of you,” she began.
“When the president asked me to serve in this role, we talked about the importance of bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room,” she added.
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Psaki went on to misconstrue several Trump administration policies, including calling his early ban on travel to the U.S. from terrorist-supporting countries a “Muslim travel ban.”
It was never a travel ban specifically aimed at Muslims, and Breitbart’s Joel Pollak called Psaki out for saying so.
So… @PressSec Jen Psaki lies right off the bat, claiming the “travel ban” was a “Muslim ban.” It was not. So much for @JoeBiden’s commitment to truth… just a few hours ago in his Inaugural.
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) January 21, 2021