Jul 1, 2020
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany White House Press Conference Transcript July 1
July 1 press conference with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. She said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) wants to get rid of the NYPD entirely, and said that Seattle has “been liberated from the anarchists” after cops cleared the Capitol Hill Organized Protest area, or “Autonomous Zone” today. Read her full news briefing transcript here.
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Kayleigh McEnany: (00:04)
So I am pleased to inform everyone that Seattle has been liberated. The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, otherwise known as CHAZ, I think they switched their name to CHOP but I’m told they went back to CHAZ, was a failed four-week Democrat experiment by the radical left and the results are in. Anarchy is anti-American, law and order is essential, peace in our streets will be secured. While the Democrat mayor of Seattle proclaimed that CHAZ was to be “the summer of love”, in fact, it was not, and other failed Democrat politicians also remained passive or even silent in the face of anarchy. But while that happened, President Trump set the tone. Law and order must prevail to preserve peace in our streets. The president is not the Democrat governor of the state of Washington. The president is not the Democrat mayor of Seattle, but nevertheless, the president must lead by example and be prepared to act in the face of failed Democrat leadership which is what we saw in Democrat Seattle and Democrat Wisconsin.
Kayleigh McEnany: (01:19)
President Trump has always stood on the side of law and order and we are pleased to report that law and order has prevailed and Seattle has been liberated from the anarchists. In President Trump’s America, autonomous zones will have no sanctuary. The BHAZ, B-H-A-Z, which stood for the Black House Autonomous Zone across from the White House, was swiftly dismantled. 100 anarchists were arrested for rioting and destruction of federal property here in D.C., I believe that number is now above 300. Four men have been charged in federal court for attempting to tear down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square and there are 200 open domestic terrorism investigations.
Kayleigh McEnany: (02:03)
You contrast the president’s vision of law and order to that of the failed CHAZ experiment and anarchy, and here is what you find in the failed Democrat experiment that took place out in Seattle. The Seattle Times said the shooting at Seattle’s CHOP protest tragically killed a 16-year-old boy, leaving a 14-year-old seriously injured. That’s what happens in an autonomous zone. The police chief Carmen Best who did a marvelous job winding down the CHOP zone noted that CHOP has become lawless and brutal and enough is enough and she took action. According to reports, “Police also investigated several vehicles circling the CHOP zone with people inside carrying firearms and wearing body armor.” This was no “summer of love” as the Democrat mayor in Seattle said, and President Trump compelled action. He has said, “Take back your city now, if you don’t do it I will.” He has said, “This is not a game. These ugly anarchists must be stopped immediately. Move fast,” and finally, the Democrat mayor in Seattle who was long delayed, finally gave the order to dismantle the CHAZ and it was an admission. It was an admission that President Trump’s vision is right, that anarchy is wrong, and that law and order bring peace, and with that, I’ll take questions. Kristen.
Kayleigh, thank you so much. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that the intelligence about the alleged Russia plot was being taken so seriously that U.S. allies were alerted and that it could impact military tactics. So how is that a hoax?
Kayleigh McEnany: (03:43)
Well as I mentioned yesterday, when happens when any intelligence comes in unverified, if there is any way that it could affect American troops or allies, it is immediately communicated on the ground to ensure that troops and commanders and generals can make the best decisions tactically speaking, so that’s the way it’s done, but what I would say is at the same time until there is a strategic decision for the president to make, until it is verified, it is not briefed up to the President of the United States, that’s how intelligence works.
Is he angry or frustrated or upset about the fact that he was not in the loop on this when members of Congress were briefed and U.S. allies were briefed?
Kayleigh McEnany: (04:24)
No, the president believes that and has great faith in Ambassador O’Brien and the others who made the decision that this shouldn’t be risen to his desk. It was a career CIA officer with more than 30 years of tenure who made the decision not to brief it up and the National Security Advisor agreed with that decision. She is an excellent officer and does great work and made the decision not to brief it was up. It was the right decision to make and at this moment as I speak to you, it is still unverified.
Kayleigh, just to follow very quickly, you and Robert O’Brien and others expressed real outrage about the leaks. Is there outrage about what the intelligence community is investigating which is the possibility of these Russian bounties targeting U.S. troops?
Kayleigh McEnany: (05:10)
Make no mistake that this administration has acted tough on Russia, always makes the decision that’s in the best interest of protecting our troops like killing General Soleimani who killed 600 American troops, maimed thousands of others and al-Baghdadi, we always act in the best interest of our troops, but this is unverified still at this very moment. John.
Why is the president calling Black Lives Matter a symbol of hate?
Kayleigh McEnany: (05:33)
Well what the president was noting is that that symbol, when you look at some of the things that have been chanted by Black Lives Matter like pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon, that’s not an acceptable phrase to paint on our street. Look, he agrees that all black lives matter including that of Officer David Dorn, Patrick Underwood, two officers whose lives were tragically taken amid these riots. All black lives do matter, he agrees with that sentiment, but what he doesn’t agree with is an organization that chants pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon about our police officers, our valiant heroes who are out on the street protecting us each and every day.
Kayleigh, Americans of all races have protested in all 50 states around that phrase black lives matter and the president is here calling it a symbol of hate?
Kayleigh McEnany: (06:19)
He’s talking about the organization. I would note to you that the –
Kayleigh McEnany: (06:23)
Greater New York BLM president has said, “If this country doesn’t give us what we want, that we will burn down the system and I could be speaking literally.” I’d call that a pretty hateful status. Yes.
[inaudible 00:06:34] not talking about organization in his tweets, he says the words.
Kayleigh McEnany: (06:35)
He says the words, black lives matter.
Kayleigh McEnany: (06:38)
What’s the name of the organization again?
Black Lives Matter.
Kayleigh McEnany: (06:40)
There you go, you just answered my question.
Kayleigh McEnany: (06:42)
Go ahead Ben.
A question on coronavirus, earlier today the president said, “I think that at some point it’s going to sort of just disappear I hope.” Is hoping that it will disappear the president’s strategy at this point?
Kayleigh McEnany: (06:53)
No, the president is confident that it will disappear. He is confident that he’s put together a revolutionary, first-class team that is going to break through bureaucracy and get us a vaccine. He’s confident that that will lead us to a place where we won’t have COVID on our hands and in fact there is very pleasing news today from Pfizer [inaudible 00:07:11] that showed positive results for their vaccines.
Dr. Fauci says that we’re heading toward the 100,000 cases per day, so why does the president have evidence that it would just disappear? [inaudible 00:07:23] distinguish between a vaccine and it just disappearing?
Kayleigh McEnany: (07:25)
One thing I would note with regard to cases, we’re aware that there are embers in the country, we’re aware that there are places with rising cases and that’s why Dr. Birx is on the ground and others, we’re continually assessing that but one thing I would note is just that when you do test more people, you do identify more cases and that is rapidly ongoing. We’re testing more than a half a million a day. To give you an example on April 6 really the height of the pandemic we were doing 151,525 tests. One day, Thursday is the number that I have here, we conducted 637,587 tests so when you have more than fivefold increase in tests, you have greater identification of cases.
So you consider what’s happening in Florida and Texas, Arizona as embers?
Kayleigh McEnany: (08:07)
I would say that those are … We see rising cases, we see embers around the country. We always knew that would come with reopening but those who are identifying as positive cases do tend to be younger individuals as the vice president noted and I think the increase in testing is part of the contribution to what we’re seeing yes.
Speaker 5: (08:25)
Today Mayor Bowser said her office has communicated with the Department of Interior about the Fourth of July celebration, it’s not in her mind in keeping with CDC Guidelines as well as the D.C. Department of Health Guidelines. The White House has said over and over again we look to our local authorities for how we should act. Should the administration be following the local guidelines?
Kayleigh McEnany: (08:50)
The president has said that we should follow our local authorities with masks so that’s the decision that he encourages people to follow those authorities. The CDC Guidelines I’d also note say recommended but not required and we are very much looking forward to the Fourth of July celebration. Yes.
Speaker 6: (09:06)
Are you preparing some options for the president to consider for retaliation against Russia should this intelligence prove to be true?
Kayleigh McEnany: (09:14)
I won’t get ahead of the president on action. I also won’t get ahead of the intelligence which at this moment is unverified.
Speaker 6: (09:26)
Does the president want this intelligence to be corroborated or not … What has he told his advisors on this front?
Kayleigh McEnany: (09:26)
The president, it’s unverified, it’s being assessed, it’s going through the same process normal intelligence would go through but what’s unfortunate is we’re having this discussion because of the New York Times deciding to run with this and erroneous information about the president being briefed which was not true and the erroneous information that there was a conclusion when in fact there was not a conclusion. Jen.
Yeah. Kayleigh, can you confirm that the CIA director and the NSA director will brief the Congressional Gang of 8 tomorrow about the Russia bounties?
Kayleigh McEnany: (09:55)
Yes, that is the plan.
Okay, so the two of them. Anyone else that will be briefing the Gang of 8?
Kayleigh McEnany: (10:00)
I’m not entirely sure who else will be in that briefing.
Can you also say, does the president generally have confidence in the intelligence community’s findings and conclusions about Russia?
Kayleigh McEnany: (10:10)
Yes, he does have confidence and he has many times acted on verified intelligence and there’s times he’s decided that it’s in our strategic interest not to act. I’d give you the example of Soleimani and al-Baghdadi and then the example of Iran shooting down … When Iran engaged in actions and the president said it’s not time to engage because shooting down an entity is not the same as losing loss of civilian lives. Yes.
Speaker 8: (10:40)
Thank you Kayleigh.
Kayleigh McEnany: (10:41)
Shooting down [inaudible 00:10:42].
Speaker 8: (10:43)
The president has come under criticism this week for statements that he has made that his detractors say are dog-whistles to a certain segment of his base that he is trying to gin up for re-election. Those include comments like kung flu, our heritage while talking about Confederate statues, and most recently they include the video that I know you discussed [inaudible 00:11:03] the other day, but the video of a supporter of his using the term white power. So why hasn’t the president denounced that video and called that a hateful statement?
Kayleigh McEnany: (11:13)
The president took down that video. That deletion speaks strongly and what I would note the president has repeatedly condemned hate. August of 2019, “In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.” In April of 2019, “We have no tolerance for those who disrupt this peace and we condemn all hate and violence, especially in our places of worship.” August 2018, “I condemn all types of racism.” He’s repeatedly done this.
Speaker 8: (11:41)
Why hasn’t he denounced that specific video and said that that is hateful language that was used in it?
Kayleigh McEnany: (11:47)
He deleted it. The deletion speaks for itself. His repeated condemnations of hate speak for themselves and this is a president who has repeatedly condemned hate and repeatedly encouraged for us all to come together. Yes.
Speaker 9: (11:59)
Thank you Kayleigh. Did the president meet today with Senate Republican Leader McConnell about the future recovery aid package and is there any sort of agreement on additional unemployment insurance or stimulus payments?
Kayleigh McEnany: (12:13)
Yeah, so I have no announcements with regard to his meetings but what I would say is he did mention that in Phase Four, he would be open to direct payments. On the point of unemployment insurance, one thing that he’s concerned about is he does not want to see an incentive not to work, and enhanced unemployment benefits that Senator Schumer has suggested would be an incentive for people not to get back to work and he wants to encourage people to get back to work and at the same time he has mentioned a payroll tax holiday, a big win for our workers that helps those who are on the lowest end of the payroll, would help the Americans who need it most so those are some things he’s talked about for Phase Four.
Speaker 10: (12:49)
Kayleigh, you used the word embers to describe the coronavirus but yesterday, another all-time record of 47,000 cases and four times this week a new record. Why do you use the word embers when many people would say it’s more like a wildfire?
Kayleigh McEnany: (13:04)
So I use the word embers because that is what the president has acknowledged that would happen around the country. You would see spikes across the country. He said at times you would see a fire across the country. Embers, fires, but at the same time, I would note the increase in cases, the increase in testing, sixfold increase in testing, you identify more cases. I’d also note that Secretary Azar said that we’ve seen nationwide that fatalities are at a two month low and so this is a different situation when those who are testing positive are younger, we have increased tests, we’re aware where there are surges. It’s why Dr. Birx is on the ground but we believe we are equipped to handle what we see on the horizon. [inaudible 00:13:44]
Speaker 11: (13:45)
The president made a conscious decision to talk less about the virus. I think in his townhall with Sean Hannity someone measured it was only three minutes that he discussed it. He tweets about far less often than he used to.
Kayleigh McEnany: (13:56)
The president is not focused on talking, he’s focused on action and his administration has taken historic action with regard to the coronavirus. We have an excess amount of PPE, a huge amount of ventilators in the stockpile, things that could never be done we were told have been done under this administration. Testing, more than 600,000 a day. This president has a done historic job with regard to the coronavirus. Luis.
Thank you. The president yesterday tweeted that he is angry against China. Is anger against China in India also? So India has [inaudible 00:14:26] from China including TikTok. Does the president [inaudible 00:14:32] and what are his views on this?s
Kayleigh McEnany: (14:33)
So with regard to India and China, we’re closely monitoring the situation. He is as well. Both India and China have expressed a desire to de-escalate and we support a peaceful resolution of the current situation and he said that China’s aggressive stance along the India-China border fits with a larger pattern of Chinese aggression in other parts of the world and these actions only confirm the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party.
TikTok, [inaudible 00:15:01] banning the TikTok app?
Kayleigh McEnany: (15:02)
No announcements on that. I would just point you to what Secretary Pompeo said earlier. Yes.
Speaker 13: (15:07)
When can we expect the president to weigh in on Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley and how much does this delay [inaudible 00:15:18] to do with the concern about sending evangelicals here in the United States who of course are a really important part of the president’s base and re-election effort –
Kayleigh McEnany: (15:26)
Yeah, so I’ve not spoken to him about that specific issue but he is a great supporter of Israel and I would just leave it at that.
Speaker 13: (15:32)
Kellyanne said that there could be something this week so I’m just wondering what the delay is and maybe you could weigh in on … There are concerns this could be the final nail in the coffin on a Palestinian State. Like what is the president thinking about that?
Kayleigh McEnany: (15:45)
So no announcements on that front and I won’t get ahead of him on anything that would happen this week or beyond. Yes.
Speaker 14: (15:51)
The president has said in this room that he wants to meet the Taliban leadership. Now that world leaders are coming here again, is that in the cards? Is that going to happen soon? Is there a timetable?
Kayleigh McEnany: (16:01)
So again, I won’t get ahead of the president on that. What the president wants is to see our troops come home from Afghanistan. He has been on the record, being against keeping a sustained presence in Afghanistan. He does not believe in foreign adventurism and wars that drag on. He believes the ultimate way to secure our troops is to bring them hope. [inaudible 00:16:22]
Speaker 15: (16:24)
[inaudible 00:16:24] the Russian bounties, the Taliban fighters affected that calculus?
Kayleigh McEnany: (16:28)
That’s unverified intelligence that’s currently being assessed. Yamish.
Hi, thanks Kayleigh. The first question I have, two questions. The first is on Monday the president went after stripping racist names on buildings. On Tuesday he went after a rule to combat racial segregation, and then today he said that he described the words black lives matter as a symbol of hate. Why is he digging in on race in this way?
Kayleigh McEnany: (16:49)
So first, if you’re saying that the fact that he does not want to rename our bases, if you’re considering that racist then apparently 56% of America is as well because 56% of America is against changing the name of the U.S. military bases. He believes that our young men and women who left these bases overseas, many of whom lost their lives, and the last thing they saw was being on one of these military bases, that they should not be told that the base that they trained in, the last place they saw on American soil was a racist institution and that’s a proposition the vast majority of America agrees with.
[inaudible 00:17:29] saying that the words black lives matter as you’ve noted has been chanted in 50 states. Why is he saying that that is a symbol of hate? On top of all the other things that he’s done just this week alone in terms of race?
Kayleigh McEnany: (17:39)
Well is pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon racist? Is that hateful? That is a hateful thing to say I would argue. I would think the vast majority of America would agree with that too. I think the vast majority of America would think it’s hateful to say that we will burn down the system and I could speaking literally. I think the vast majority of America would agree with him yet again that holding up a severed pig’s head is unacceptable.
If you’re not going to engage on that, I have a second question.
Kayleigh McEnany: (18:09)
I did engage on that.
The second question is –
Kayleigh McEnany: (18:09)
I engaged on that Yamish, and I said we agree all black lives matter with that sentiment but we will not stand with an organization that exhibits that kind of hate against our police officers.
The second question is what does the president have to say to military service … The families of service members who are really afraid that their loved ones might have been killed in connection to this Russia bounty? There are families already saying we want the United States and federal government to call us and settle this up. Kristen had an interview with a father saying that just this week. What is this president’s message to the military families in this country?
Kayleigh McEnany: (18:42)
That it’s unverified intelligence, it’s continually being assessed and the Department of Defense has said they do not know of any Americans that have been killed in relation to this unverified intelligence that’s currently being assessed. Yes. [inaudible 00:18:54].
Speaker 17: (18:53)
Thank you Kayleigh. The president has stated in the past that he will not tolerate defunding police and he said this multiple times. Considering that many Democrat-led cities have now done so including New York City as of this morning, what does not tolerating this move look like from the president’s vantage at this time?
Kayleigh McEnany: (19:14)
Yeah, it means speaking out fervently against it and what it means is this executive order gives additional funding to police departments if they meet certain standards. We want safe policing. We want to make sure that police officers are trained to de-escalate. That’s why there is this supplementary funding in the EO that incentivizes and rewards police departments that train their officers in de-escalation, that get rid of chokeholds except when there is an incident of lethal force but look he stands firmly with America yet again on this with 64% opposing defunding the police. That’s a huge number, 57% according to another HuffPost/YouGov poll stand against it and look. Where America stands is here where we’re at a place where 64% of the nation are concerned that the growing criticism of America’s police will lead to a shortage of police officers. That will harm all Americans, it’s an untenable principle and it’s unacceptable when you have people like Representative Ocasio-Cortez really suggesting where the Democrat Party stands today because taking a billion away from NYPD police officers wasn’t enough for her. She wants to take it all away. She doesn’t want police officers and that’s a really unacceptable proposition.
Speaker 17: (20:24)
On the USMCA also, it takes effect at midnight. What immediate changes is the White House hoping to see immediately starting tomorrow and then are there any elements of the USMCA that may be hindered because of COVID-19?
Kayleigh McEnany: (20:39)
Yeah, the USMCA today, that goes into effect. It’s a huge deal for years, for decades, NAFTA wreaked havoc on American society, closing our factories, hemorrhaging American manufacturing jobs and the USMCA is a massive win. It will create 176,000 jobs, add $68 billion to the U.S. economy, 28,000 manufacturing jobs are expected to be added and agricultural and food exports will increase by $2.2 billion, a big win for our farmers so we expect to see that start to take effect. It’s a big deal and it’s a reversal of decades of failed U.S. policy with the USMCA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, horrible trade deals that betrayed America’s workers. Under President Trump, the forgotten man and woman is forgotten no longer. Thank you guys.