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Wed Sep 16, 2020, 06:29 PM

Press Briefing by Kayleigh McEnany; September 16, 2020

PRESS BRIEFINGS

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany | 9/16/20
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:30 P.M. EDT

MS. MCENANY: Good afternoon, everyone. I just spoke with the President, and he wanted to thank the commissioner of Big 10 football, Kevin Warren, and all of the players, parents, coaches, and fans who wanted more than anything to play football.

{snip}

Yes. Kaitlan.

Q I have two questions. You said that the President was talking about wearing a mask improperly last night, touching it, referring to what Dr. Fauci has said. But he said, quote, “There are people that don’t think masks are good.” That’s clearly not what the CDC director thinks, since he said today that masks are an “important, powerful public health tool we have. They could be even more protective against COVID than a vaccine.”

So have any medical experts told the President that masks aren’t good? Or is he only citing non-medical experts, like he did last night?

MS. MCENANY: He’s referring to the fact that, when used appropriately, they can have unintended consequences, much like what Dr. Fauci said. It’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is, and oftentimes there are unintended consequences.

So the President agrees with Dr. Fauci that mask wearing is good; it’s recommended. The President has continually recommended it from this podium, but he was just pointing out some of the unintended consequences if not used appropriately.

Q Okay. But he didn’t say that. He just said there are people that think masks aren’t —

MS. MCENANY: No, he did. Go on — do you have his whole exchange? Would you like to read it out?

Q There — I mean, I watched it last night.

MS. MCENANY: Where he went and talked about —

Q There — he said there are people who don’t think masks are good. He didn’t say “improperly” or anything like that.

MS. MCENANY: Kaitlan, he went on and very — unfortunately, a bunch of you are very keen on doing selective editing of the President’s quotes and not referring to the second half.

Directly under that statement, he talked about a waiter touching the mask and then touching a plate, and that being an unintended effect of wearing a mask that is an example of a mask not being used to appropriately.

Q Yeah, he said waiters don’t think masks are good, but he didn’t cite any medical experts.

MS. MCENANY: And he described — he described the exact scenario in which a mask can have an unintended consequence if not used appropriately. And we can send you the clip; we’ll put it up on Twitter for you.

Q No, I watched it. That’s okay. I was just wanted to see if there was any medical experts who have said that.

On the health- —

MS. MCENANY: And they have, and I just read Dr. Fauci’s quote. So, go ahead.

Q Yes, I’ve read Dr. Fauci’s quotes.

On the healthcare plan, the Chief of Staff said today that there is going to be one unveiled before the election — the one that the President has been promising for over a year now, long before then. But today, on Capitol Hill, the three top medical experts in this administration said they have no idea of any kind of plan that’s being formulated. So who is it that is working on the healthcare plan that’s going to be introduced before the election?

MS. MCENANY: So, here at the White House, we have a wide array of people working on it. There have been elements of it that have already come out, like that telemedicine plan, the drug importation EO. The “most favored nations” were elements of what is an overarching plan. There’s more that will be forthcoming.

And, in aggregate, it’s going to be a very comprehensive strategy — one where we’re saving healthcare while Democrats are trying to take healthcare away. We’re making healthcare better and cheaper, guaranteeing protections for people with preexisting conditions, stopping surprise medical billing, increasing transparency, defending the right to keep your doctor and your plan, fighting lobbyists and special interests, and making healthier and making — finding cures to diseases. And those are the principles that will animate multiple stakeholders —

Q But who is working on it is my question.

MS. MCENANY: — multiple stakeholders here at the White House who work on policies.

Q But not the CDC director or —

MS. MCENANY: So our Domestic Policy Council and others are working on a healthcare plan.

Yes.

Q Not the CDC director? Not Bob Kadlec? Not Admiral Giroir? None of them have any idea about the healthcare plan, they said.

MS. MCENANY: I’m not going to give you a readout of what our healthcare plan looks like and who’s working on it.

Q I’m just wondering who is working on it.

MS. MCENANY: If you want to know — if you want to know, come work here at the White House.

Yes.

Q Kayleigh, I just wanted to know who’s working on it.

MS. MCENANY: Yes. Stakeholders here in the White House. And, as I told you, our Domestic Policy Council and others in the White House are working on a healthcare plan, the President’s vision for the next five years.

Yes.

And if you want more, come join us here.

Yes.

Q Thank you.

Q No, that’s not the point why I asked the question. I think you know that.

MS. MCENANY: Okay, I’ve called on your four times. So, Mario, go ahead.


{snip}

Q Yeah, I was letting a colleague finish. Can I ask my question?

MS. MCENANY: No, I’m not going to reward not speaking up and asking your question.

Go ahead.

Anyone else? Yes.

{snip}

Q Yes, if you’ll allow me, I have a question from a colleague because I’m the pooler today, and then I’d like to ask my own.

From a colleague: In lifting tariffs on Canadian aluminum, the USTR announced yesterday it would review shipment levels six weeks after the end of September — a timeline that extends beyond the election. Was the President worried that those tariffs and the anticipated retaliatory action from Canada would endanger his reelection chances?

MS. MCENANY: I’ve not spoken to the President about Canadian tariffs. I haven’t followed up on that matter.

What was your other question?

Q The second one is: Does the President have any evidence to back up his suggestions that Joe Biden is a pedophile or taking drugs? And without such evidence, if he’s simply speculating, why should the public trust him on anything else?

MS. MCENANY: I’d have to refer you to the campaign. I’m not here to talk about Joe Biden.


Yes.

{snip}

Q Hi, Kayleigh. Thank you. I’ve got two questions, if I may. One, is the White House aware of the allegations of healthcare abuse in ICE detention centers?

MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I have not followed up on that. I’d have to refer you to DHS. I did see that report just before coming out here, but I refer you to DHS.

Q Okay, and another question: A new survey showed that the image of the U.S. in the world is the worst in 20 years, and President Trump is less trusted than Putin or Xi Jinping after COVID response. So why do you think many countries don’t trust President Trump right now?

MS. MCENANY: Look, this President has led the greatest response to COVID. I’ve already walked through how well we’re doing vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

Also worth noting, U.S. — we had the smallest economic contraction of any major Western country in the first half of the year.

Also want to note that, in 2019, real median household income grew by more — this is last year alone — real median household income grew by more than all eight years of Obama-Biden. And in 2019 — so, last year — real median household income for African Americans rose 8 percent. And that is more than double the gains of Obama-Biden in eight years.

{snip. I'm not here to talk about Biden, but let's talk about Biden.}

Yes.

Q Is Michael Caputo welcome back after his 60-day leave after encouraging his followers on Facebook to stock up on ammunition?

MS. MCENANY: I’m not going to weigh into any personnel matters. As you know, he has taken a leave of absence. That was announced just before I came out here.

But what I will weigh into is the Middle East peal [sic] — the Middle East peace deal signed yesterday that I did not receive a single question about. That was the first time it’s happened in a quarter of a century.

If Obama and Biden had achieved this, there would — it would look a lot different. You wouldn’t have Chuck Todd saying he’s uncomfortable with a deal that brings peace between the United Arab Emirates and Israel and Bahrain. You wouldn’t have CBS calling it, quote, a “business deal.” And you wouldn’t have Nancy Pelosi calling it a “distraction.” Maybe it’s a distraction from her visits to the hair salon, but those were significant agreements. First time in a quarter of a century; three peace deals in 29 days. It took 26 years for the prior peace deals.

So this — the Nobel Peace Prize nomination for the President — two of them — very well deserved.

Thank you.

END

1:54 P.M. EDT



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