Sep 24, 2020
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany White House Press Conference Transcript September 24
September 24 press conference with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. She discussed mail-in voting and the shootings of two police officers that took place during protests after the Breonna Taylor case decision. Read her full White House news briefing transcript here.
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Kayleigh McEnany: (19:48)
Good afternoon, everyone. The radicals are in control of the Democrat Party. Make no mistake. Democrat radicals want to shatter norms and disregard precedent for the sake of the very norms and precedents they claim must be safeguarded. They’ve proposed court-packing, an egregious idea. They’ve entertained impeachment as punishment for the President exercising his lawful Article two, Section two authority to appoint a nominated, rather a justice to the Supreme Court. They’ve advocated for the abolition of the Electoral College. These are all the tactics that they are using to sow chaos and discord.
Kayleigh McEnany: (20:29)
Likewise, they’re endorsing a mass mail-out ballot system, that will likely lead to the kind of week-long delay New York witnessed in its recent primary. Far-left radicals resort to tactics like this to push their extreme agenda because they cannot win on the merits. They cannot succeed based on the will of the American people. This administration will continue to call out these tactics, while Democrats should end their petty politics and get to work. With that, I’ll take questions, John.
Yeah, Kayleigh. I wonder if you can just clean up or clarify something the President said yesterday. If he loses this election, can you assure us that there will be a peaceful transfer of power?
Kayleigh McEnany: (21:11)
You are referring to the question asked by the Playboy reporter, right?
I’m referring to you with the president being asked if there would be a peaceable transfer power. He did not say “Yes.”
Kayleigh McEnany: (21:20)
Yeah, I believe-
I’m asking you, will there be a peaceful transfer of power if he loses this election?
Kayleigh McEnany: (21:25)
I believe that question asked by the Playboy power, in fact, I think I have it right here. He was asked-
I’m asking the question.
Kayleigh McEnany: (21:32)
He was asked, win, lose, or draw, whether he would accept the transfer of power. I’m not entirely sure if he won, why he would accept a transfer of power. That is, maybe the deranged wish of that reporter, but that’s not how governing works.
But I asked a very direct and very simple question. If the President loses this election, will this White House, will this President assure us that there will be a peaceful transfer of power? It’s a very simple question. We’ve been doing it since- [crosstalk 00:21:57]
Kayleigh McEnany: (21:56)
The president will accept the results of a free and fair election, but I think that your question is more fitting-
Kayleigh McEnany: (22:03)
… fair election. But I think that your question is more fitting to be asked of Democrats who have already been on the record saying they won’t accept the results of an election. In fact, I have several of them here for you. South Carolina Democrat, Jim Clyburn has said that Trump is not going to win fairly. Senator Barbara Boxer has said that the only way Trump will win is to steal it. That’s according to Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer. The Washington Post has noted. They have a headline, Democrats may not trust the results of the election if Trump wins. Then you have that beautiful quote from Hillary Quentin Clinton that Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstance. I think your fitting is more a question … more a fitting question for Democrats. Yes.
Kayleigh, just to understand this clearly. Are the results legitimate only if the president wins?
Kayleigh McEnany: (22:50)
The president will accept the results of a free and fair election. He will accept the will of the American people.
So for clarity, if he loses and it’s free and fair, he will accept?
Kayleigh McEnany: (23:00)
I’ve answered your question. He will accept the results of a free and fair election.
Let me ask you about Breonna Taylor, if I can, right now. First of all, just a little housekeeping, has the president spoken to the family of Breonna Taylor?
Kayleigh McEnany: (23:10)
I’m not aware of any conversation that they’ve had, but our hearts do go out to her family.
Has the president spoken to the officers who were shot last night in Louisville?
Kayleigh McEnany: (23:17)
I’m not aware of any conversations.
So the president spoke to the officers who were shot in Los Angeles, but to this point, there’s no indication the president at any point in the last several months has spoken to the family of Breonna Taylor. I guess, why not?
Kayleigh McEnany: (23:29)
The president routinely speaks to victims of horrendous tragedies. I’ve been here when he’s met with the parents who lost their children to instances of police brutality. It was a really beautiful meeting. The president consoled them. He’s talked to the widows, who’ve lost their husbands, police officers. He’s spoken to widows of fallen soldiers. He routinely reaches out to victims of all kinds of atrocities and he’ll continue to do that.
What is the president’s message to the family of Breonna. I heard what you say. We grieve for them. But what is the president’s message to the family of Breonna Taylor, that does not believe they received justice?
Kayleigh McEnany: (24:05)
That our hearts go out to her. It was a horrible tragedy that happened and that our hearts also are with the two police officers who were shot last night in the Louisville riots.
When you say our, you mean, the White House including the president?
Kayleigh McEnany: (24:16)
Yes. I speak on behalf of the president.
So that would be, his thoughts go out?
Kayleigh McEnany: (24:19)
I am the president’s spokesperson. I speak on his behalf, Peter.
[crosstalk 00:24:22] in fact, one of his aides just said that the president is his own spokesperson, which is why I ask. But go ahead.
Kayleigh McEnany: (24:24)
Ben, go ahead. Ben
So Kayleigh, yesterday when the president said, “Get rid of the ballots, there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.” Which particular ballots is he talking about wanting to get rid of? And why does he think that would help him get elected?
Kayleigh McEnany: (24:37)
The president wants to get rid of mass mail-out voting. That’s not because it … he’s said clearly that that could go either way. It could damage either candidates chances, because it’s a system that’s subject to fraud. In fact, in the last 24 hours, police in Greenville, Wisconsin found mail in a ditch, and it included absentee ballots. Also, I can confirm for you that Trump ballots, ballots for the president were found in Pennsylvania. I believe you should be getting more information on that shortly. Here in the last 24 hours, they were found cast aside.
So why in the past hour did the president tweet out, “Vote by mail ballots in my home state of Florida begin going out today, make sure to request yours, fill it out and send it in.”
Kayleigh McEnany: (25:18)
The president has always made the distinction that absentee ballots, where you go through a process [crosstalk 00:25:22] where you request a ballot and you mail that in. That is a system that works, but a system where you mass mail out to voter rolls, which are not kept and maintained, where in Los Angeles County, for instance, you have 120% of the County enrolled. That system is untenable. It doesn’t work. It leads to what we saw in Nevada, where there were ballots languishing in trash cans and pinned to apartment boards.
Okay. And finally, today, FBI director Wray testified on the hill that he has not seen historically any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise. So if the president’s own FBI director says this isn’t a problem, why does the president keeps saying it is?
Kayleigh McEnany: (25:58)
Well, as Attorney General Barr has said, we’ve never had an election where we’ve done mass mail out voting like this before. I would point you to a bipartisan study done by none other than Jimmy Carter, who said that these mail-in votes remain the largest source of potential fraud. And he even cited an example of a 1997 Miami mayor election that resulted in 36 arrests for absentee ballot fraud. That election had to be rerun and the results were reversed. That is an example from 1997, but there are many others like Patterson, New Jersey. Where four men were charged with voting fraud. Recently four more men were charged in California. There’s a ton of examples. I could get you an encyclopedia of fraudulent examples.
So these ballots are going out. If the president does win, will he still think it was rigged and fraudulent?
Kayleigh McEnany: (26:46)
I’ve already answered this question. Yes.
Speaker 1: (26:48)
Kayleigh, the president’s niece filed a lawsuit in New York State court today alleging that the president and two of his siblings had cheated her out of millions and squeezed her out of the family business. We were hoping to get a reaction from the White House.
Kayleigh McEnany: (27:04)
Yeah. The only fraud committed there was Mary Trump recording one of her relatives and she’s really discredited herself.
Kayleigh McEnany: (27:11)
Speaker 2: (27:12)
Kayleigh, on TikTok. We know that the CFIUS negotiations are continuing. Can you say, has the president been briefed in the last couple of days about how the CFIUS negotiations are going? Do you know when those negotiations will end?
Kayleigh McEnany: (27:26)
Yeah. I’m not aware of his briefing schedule with regard to TikTok, but what I can say is what the president has said, which is that any deal has to be 100% as far as national security is concerned. I’d refer you to his comments as well as those from the Department of Treasury for any further specifics. I’d refer you there.
Kayleigh McEnany: (27:46)
Thank you. Kayleigh. The president suggested yesterday that he might overrule stricter standards at the FDA on the coronavirus vaccine. Why would the president not want strict standards for a vaccine on the coronavirus?
Kayleigh McEnany: (28:00)
Well, the FDA does have strict standards. They are the gold standard with regard to vaccines. The president was referring to the normal inter-agency process that happens with guidance. That includes running through the office of management and budget. That’s standard operating procedure. I would also point out, I spoke to Dr. Hahn this morning and Dr. Hahn said that the guidance issued was a follow-up to June 30th guidance that they put out. It was guidance that they gave to pharmaceutical companies to provide them with more regulatory clarity.
Kayleigh McEnany: (28:33)
Speaker 3: (28:33)
Thanks, Kayleigh. The White House is describing this healthcare event today as a chance for the president to outline his vision. Is that something less than his plan? Just a second part of that. Does the White House think that it can address the country’s challenges with healthcare solely through executive action?
Kayleigh McEnany: (28:50)
The president we’ll be laying out his healthcare vision today. I don’t want to get ahead of exactly what that will look like. There will be some tangible actions taken. As well as, the president really laying out, something that I think has been overlooked, the real contrast between what Obamacare gave us between 2013 and 2017 and what the president has delivered. I think we have a graphic to that effect. I’m not sure if they were able to put it together in time.
Kayleigh McEnany: (29:16)
But with Obamacare, it is a fact that from 2013 to 2017 premiums in this country went up. In fact, they went up by 105% on the individual market. You can trust that with President Trump, what he’s managed to do, by rolling back a lot of Obamacare, and we’ve seen premiums on the individual market go down. Same for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. The polar opposite of what happened with Obamacare, where those premiums went up. So premiums have come down under this president. Drug prices have come down. Under President Obama, drug prices were up 15%. Under President Trump, they came down for the first time in 50 years.
Kayleigh McEnany: (29:55)
Then finally under Obamacare, you had choice that went down. One third of counties had only one insurer in the individual market. With President Trump, there are new affordable options like AAHPs, STLDIs and HRAs, healthcare reimbursement arrangements. As well as employer sponsored insurance that has gone up. We’ve seen an increase of 1.5 million in 2019. So these principles have undergirded the Trump presidency and he will use many of the same principles going forward and you’ll get his comprehensive healthcare vision that will include some action items here in short order.
Speaker 3: (30:31)
Is this the extent of the plan, or is there more after this?
Kayleigh McEnany: (30:34)
This is going to be his full vision that he has been talking about over the last few weeks. It’ll be in Charlotte, North Carolina, today.
Kayleigh McEnany: (30:41)
Speaker 4: (30:42)
Thanks so much, Kayleigh. I want to ask about the Supreme Court considerations. Has the president met with all the top candidates that are under consideration? Are there any others? Are there any others that he’s still plans to meet? Judge Lagoa, for example, does he still plan to meet with Judge Lagoa?
Kayleigh McEnany: (31:00)
So I’m not going to get into the president’s private meetings with these candidates. He’s noted that there are five he’s considering. They all fall in the same mold as textualists, originalists, constitution abiding judges.
Speaker 4: (31:11)
On another note, today at the Supreme Court, when the president approached, was paying his respects to Justice Ginsburg, there were some people in the crowd that started to chant, to respect her wishes, to uphold her wishes. Do you have some thoughts on those chants, which also included, vote him out?
Kayleigh McEnany: (31:33)
Yeah, I think the chants were appalling, but certainly to be expected when you’re in the heart of the swamp. I travel with the president all across the country, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, and Nevada, and everywhere we go, the streets are lined with support, like I don’t think any other president has had previously.
Kayleigh McEnany: (31:50)
But with regard to precedent, as I’ve noted before 29 times has an appointment been made in an election year, 29 times. That was all 29 times when there was a vacancy at hand. So the precedent is very much on our side here. I would also note the hypocrisy of Democrats. Joe Biden saying, “I would go forward with the confirmation process as chairman even a few months before an election. Barack Obama saying, “Fill the Supreme Court vacancy when it was his tenure.” And you had Kamala Harris saying as well, “That Senate GOP is holding SCOTUS hostage for political gain. Join me in calling them to consider President Obama’s nominees.” So they’ve really flipped here because the precedent is on our side and their hypocrisy is on full display.
Kayleigh McEnany: (32:35)
Speaker 5: (32:35)
[inaudible 00:32:35] The former number two of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Paul Selva, who served under President Trump, he and 500 other national security and military leaders, they endorsed Joe Biden today. Do you guys have a comment on that, given that it doesn’t seem like Jim Mattis and Joe Dunford who also served under the president are rushing to support him this election.
Kayleigh McEnany: (32:56)
Yeah. I think the president’s record speaks for itself. Our military men and women, our veterans, love this president for a very distinct reason. I-
Kayleigh McEnany: (33:03)
Men and women, our veterans love this president for a very distinct reason. Under Obama-Biden, sequestration really gutted our military. You had the Navy at its smallest point ever, and the other military branches were absolutely gutted. Then you had President Trump who came in and secured a record amount of funding for our military and our Department of Defense and built up our military. When it comes to veterans, the appalling way that our veterans were treated at the VA under Obama-Biden. There was an IG reports that as many as 300,000 veterans, think about that, 300,000 veterans could have died waiting for care. This president came in, put in the VA Missions Act, secured real choice and options for our veterans, and that’s the reason that the military and our veterans love this president.
Speaker 6: (33:49)
But why is Selva endorsing Joe Biden?
Kayleigh McEnany: (33:49)
I can’t speak to one person’s reasoning, but this president, when you look at what he’s done, bringing our troops home and all he’s done in aggregate, the rank and file in this military loved this president. Yes.
Speaker 7: (34:01)
Thanks Kayleigh. Two quick follow ups on what’s been discussed earlier. Does the president still have confidence in the FDA commissioner based on his comments yesterday?
Kayleigh McEnany: (34:08)
There are no changes. Dr. Han is FDA commissioner, so yes.
Speaker 6: (34:12)
And then to follow up, you said that you thought the chants outside the Supreme Court this morning were appalling. Is there any issue with people peaceably demonstrating and chanting at the president?
Kayleigh McEnany: (34:21)
No. Of course everyone has a 1st Amendment in this country, but I thought it was an appalling and disrespectful thing to do as the president honored Justice Ginsburg. Yes.
Speaker 8: (34:31)
What was the emergency call the president left yesterday’s briefing to take?
Kayleigh McEnany: (34:35)
I’m not going to get into a readout of the president’s calls, but he regularly takes very important phone calls. Yes, Deborah.
Thank you Kayleigh. What’s the likelihood that Sudan will be the next country to recognize Israel and are there any new developments that you’re expecting after the Emirates in Bahrain recognized Israel?
Kayleigh McEnany: (34:52)
So the president has noted that there are several other countries that want to make agreements of this sort. I won’t confirm exactly which country will be next, but rest assured the world has looked at what this president did. Historic agreements between the UAE and Israel and Bahrain and you see deals that you haven’t seen in a quarter of a century. It was 26 years between the second and the third deal and just 29 days between the third and the fourth. This president’s the only president to have overseen the normalization of relations between Israel and two Middle East countries. To have two on his watch is a really big deal and no wonder two Nobel Peace Prize nominations as well. Yes.
Speaker 9: (35:33)
Yeah. Thank you. What’s the status of coronavirus vaccination this year? Do you expect this to be delivered before Christmas?
Kayleigh McEnany: (35:41)
We do expect to have a vaccine by the end of the year. That has always been the goal and we are still on track for that. It’s very important that what the president has done with regard to commercial level manufacturing. As Dr. Slowey told me, the fact that you have scaled up manufacture these vaccines in advance is something that this president has done because he’s a businessman and thinks through exactly how to get a safe and effective vaccine delivered at record speed. And part of that is entailed manufacturing in advance. And to do this, it normally takes years to scale up to commercial level production, but this president has done it in just a few short months. And if we have this vaccine by the end of the year, it will be the fastest pace for a vaccine for a novel pathogen in history. Yes.
Thank you, Kayleigh. I wanted to go back to mail-in voting for just a bit. Right now, five states conduct elections entirely by mail-in prior to the pandemic with no cases or no major cases of fraud. Does that success not give the president confidence in mail-in voting?
Kayleigh McEnany: (36:44)
So those states have had time and a history of having a workable system and one that has been done for many years, for many election cycles. To move the entire country to mass mail and voting all at once and have an entirely new system and do that in just a few short months is an untenable and an unworkable proposition and one that has shown to not work well at all, especially when you look at the disenfranchisement, which I think is really troubling when it comes to mass mail-in voting. In 2016, you had 1% of ballots thrown out, absentee ballots that amounted to 319,000 votes thrown out. And if you have the entirety of the country voting by mail, you can imagine that number would be many folds higher than that. And you look just in the primary where you’ve seen states try to move to this mass mailing system.
Kayleigh McEnany: (37:36)
There were 100,000 ballots rejected in California. In New York City, one in five mail-in ballots were rejected. And as a former DOJ voting rights official said, “It’s nuts. That is just way too high when one in five voters because of mass mail-in voting have their ballots thrown out.” Yes, Chanel.
Thank you Kayleigh. Yesterday, the Senate released an 87 page report on Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s dealings across the board of Ukraine and with Russia. Specifically, it showed Hunter Biden supporting Russian prostitution, human trafficking, and receiving $3.5 million from Moscow. Question to you is, does the White House have any intention of helping the DOJ should an investigation be opened up on the Bidens? And number two, do you have a response to Rudy Giuliani yesterday telling us that this should immediately disqualify Joe Biden from his candidacy?
Kayleigh McEnany: (38:31)
Yeah, that was a very troubling report. I’ll leave it to the DOJ as to how they move forward, but I mean, I think this New York Post cover says it all. I heard so much about Russia collusion, but it appears the only collusion going on was between Hunter Biden as he accepted $3.5 million from the wife of the Moscow mayor. Very troubling indeed. And in addition to that, Ukraine money as well. And it’s good that the Senate looked into that. But finally, I would like to note the situation in Louisville, Kentucky last night. There were reports of vandalism. There were nearly 100 arrests and the Trump administration are just calm and reminds those who wish to have their voices heard to do so peacefully. You have a right to peaceful protest as outlined in the 1st Amendment and the Attorney General Daniel Cameron said, “If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”
Kayleigh McEnany: (39:35)
And you can trust his message with that of CNN’s Brianna Keilar, who said, “I question the judgment of the Kentucky Attorney General saying that mob justice is not justice. We know that this is very loaded language.” That’s an appalling statement from Brianna Keilar at CNN and what is outrageous about this take is that mob justice is not justice. Hours later after this comment was made on CNN, two police officers were shot. This is not justice. This has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with the value of human life and the safety and security of our American cities. And across the country, we’ve seen our police officers come under fire in the line of duty.
Kayleigh McEnany: (40:17)
In Los Angeles, there was an ambush attempt on two police officers. In Phoenix, a US Marshall was ambushed and shot outside a federal courthouse. In Linwood, California, a suspect approached a patrol car and fired a handgun into the passenger side window. And in Suffolk, Virginia, a suspect open fired on a marked police car, hitting the vehicle three times. Our police officers deserve our respect and the violence that is being committed towards them, and this was just in the last week and a half, is outrageous. And the words of CNN and of Brianna Keilar are outrageous, irresponsible, and we should never hear statements like that followed by hours later, two police officers being shot.
Speaker 10: (41:00)
Kayleigh, what does the president believe the protestors.