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Mon Aug 31, 2020, 09:32 PM

Press Briefing by Kayleigh McEnany; August 31, 2020


Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany | 8/31/2020

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:03 P.M. EDT

MS. MCENANY: Good afternoon, everyone. The President shows up. When the Trump administration arrives in a Democrat-run city engulfed in chaos, peace is restored, law and order is upheld.

Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Kenosha: all of these cities are Democrat-run; all of these cities have experienced anarchy, violence, and destruction in recent days ó the opposite of a peaceful protest.


And with that, Iíll take questions.


Q So heís going to Kenosha tomorrow. Does the President have any plans currently to meet with Jacob Blakeís family? Currently, the plans are to meet with local law enforcement and some business owners, and heíll survey the damage. But there will be more detailed plans forthcoming that are announced.

Q Okay. So, no, heís not scheduled to meet with them?

MS. MCENANY: Not currently.

Q And I know that thereís been an outreach from the White House. Who has the White House reached out to in Jacob Blakeís family? And why has there not been able to ó been a connection made since he was shot and hospitalized?

MS. MCENANY: So I would refer you to what the Chief of Staffís office has tweeted. Theyíve detailed that outreach, and part of it has been to the pastor and part of it directly to the family.

Yes. Ben.

Q Kayleigh, the President was asked on Friday if he thought the shooting of Jacob Blake was justified, and he said that he didnít like the sight of it but that he was going to learn more about it. Now that a couple of days has passed, does the President think this shooting was justified or unjustified?

THE PRESIDENT: Iíd refer you back to the Presidentís remarks. Thereís a investigation ongoing. So I spoke to him earlier, and he was not willing to weigh in more than he had. But heíll have a briefing this afternoon that you can ask him more about.

Q But based on what he has seen, he doesnít have any further thoughts on whether thatís an appropriate use of force?

MS. MCENANY: I refer you back to his comments over the weekend and just say thereís an ongoing investigation.

Q Just one other thing: Does the President condemn the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of shooting some of the protesters?

MS. MCENANY: The President is not going to, again, weigh in on that. You can ask him this evening; he may weigh in further. But at the moment, heís not weighing into that.


Q Kayleigh, why did the President like a tweet that said the alleged shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, was ďa good example of why I decided to vote for Trump.Ē Can you help us understand?

MS. MCENANY: Well, I think ó I did ask him about that tweet and the ďlike,Ē in particular, and he just wanted to bring some attention to some of the details that arenít as well known in that case: that the individual was being attacked and that one of the individuals who arrived on the scene did have a gun.

So there were some details that were not public or as public as they should be. So he was referring to that with the ďlike.Ē


Q Does he want his supporters to show up and do similar ó

MS. MCENANY: Of course. And the President roundly condemns violence in all of its forms.



Q Kayleigh, I want to ask you about one of the Presidentís other tweets this weekend. He took a video or retweeted a video of a caravan of people driving into Portland with Trump and American flags flying; he called them ďgreat patriots.Ē What about that image does the President see as patriotic? And, ostensibly, youíre talking about people going into a city in which they donít live, presumably to protect the property they donít own. Whatís patriotic about that activity?

MS. MCENANY: The President was highlighting that these were good Americans going in to peacefully be a part of a protest and show their voice. And, you know, thatís what he was noting by the tweet and highlighting the video, which he routinely does.

Q What about the video of them scuffling, shooting paintballs at people and getting in the mix with people? Is that patriotic activity?

MS. MCENANY: I donít think the President has seen that video, nor have I. But if youíre going to ask about paintballs, itís incredible that, for 90 days, Iíve stood at this podium talking about officers who have been ó lasers flashed in their eyes in an attempt to blind them; commercial-grade fireworks being thrown at them; a church, right out here, burning down; the people that were harassed and yelled at ó Senator Rand Paul, Dan Bongino ó right out here. And youíre going to ask me about a paintball video when, in fact, for 90 days weíve seen horrific, horrific violence by Antifa, a radical anarchist organization, and youíre going to ask me about a paintball video I have yet to see and neither has the President.


Q Iím going to ask you about it, but you maintain that thatís ó that the people who went into the city to conduct that activity, they are patriots.

MS. MCENANY: The President has never seen that video. I donít even know if the people that youíre referring to were a part of the paintball activity.

But, look, thereís been 90 days of violence from left-wing anarchists, and itís incredible that today is the one time youíre interested in a violence ó when itís paintballs and we donít even know who set off these paintballs ó but you fail to ask for 90 days about violence from an anarchist organization because it happens to be on the left.


Q Thatís not ó

Q Okay, thank you, Kayleigh. The President is also traveling this week to Wilmington, North Carolina. He could celebrate the end of World War Two in any city in America. So why is he traveling specifically to Wilmington? Why is that the place that he is choosing to designate as the first heritage city site for World War Two? And is this related in any way to the fact that North Carolina is considered a must-win state for the President and the fact that absentee-by-mail voting starts this week on Friday?

MS. MCENANY: No, thereís not a political purpose in this visit. This President is visiting it to commemorate a great site in American history.


Q Why was it specifically selected then?


Q Kayleigh, a federal judge in Georgia last week became the latest to rule against the administration, denying citizenship to gay couples ó pardon me, the administration denying gay couples citizenship for their children born overseas by a surrogate, yet the Justice Department continues to appeal these cases. How can the administration claim to be part of its LGBTQ record when itís litigating against these couples?

MS. MCENANY: Yeah, so that pertain to surrogacy, and it had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the parents. And this administration, President, will proudly stand on a record of achievements, like leading a global initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality throughout the world, launching a plan to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, and easing a ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

Q But the ó


Q ó the federal judge has ruled the interpretation of that law ó


Q ó is not correct, and that thereís statutory and constitutional concerns.

MS. MCENANY: Again, for anything further, Iíd refer you to the State Department.



Yes, Chanel.

MS. MCENANY: Thank you, Kayleigh. What is the Presidentís position on victims, families, businesses ó as a result of these riots ó suing Democrat-run cities? Would he support them if they were to band together and do so?

MS. MCENANY: I havenít spoken to him about that specifically, but certainly what youíre seeing is: It is Democrat cities where youíre seeing all of these numbers increase. When you look at ó I just noted to Yamiche ó Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York City, these have all seen anywhere from a 33 percent spike in the murder rate to a 277 percent increase in one month alone in New York City. Itís appalling. And it is Democrat governors and mayors, and lawlessness that theyíre allowing to prevail.

When federal forces come in, the situation changes. And itís so interesting to me to see Democrats who once disparaged or ignored the violence, I should say, all of a sudden caring about it. But letís not forget what they said previously: Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplaying the violence rocking U.S. cities, ignorantly saying, ďPeople will do what they do.Ē

Jerry Nadler, when asked about Antifa, he said that that was a ďmythĒ thatís being spread around Washington, D.C. Itís not a myth. In fact, an Antifa individual took the life of an innocent Trump supporter in Portland.

You have Rep. Ayanna Pressley saying that she wanted unrest in the streets. Chris Cuomo saying, ďShow me where it says protesters are supposed to be peaceful.Ē Iíll give you an idea, Chris: Itís the Constitution.

Don Lemon saying, quote, ďThe rioting has to stop. Chris, as you know and I know, itís showing up in the poll[s]. Itís showing up in the focus groups. It is the only thing right now thatís sticking.Ē

So, now, all of a sudden, 90 days later, I, from this podium, have talked about law and order. The President has talked about law and order repeatedly, but because the polling has shifted, now itís time for the Democrats to deny what they said previously and, all of a sudden, focus on law and order.

Iíll leave you with this: Thatís like the arsonist blaming the firefighter.


1:21 P.M. EDT

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