White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tried to spin President Trump’s denial of reports that senior White House officials would be among the first to get access to COVID-19 vaccines into an act of selflessness during an interview on Fox News Monday afternoon.
Hours after Pfizer began shipping out the vaccine on Sunday, the New York Times and Bloomberg reported that Trump and senior White House officials — who’ve repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic and have thrown several largely maskless and crowded holiday gatherings on White House grounds — would get early access to it as it rolls out over the next several days.
Late Sunday night, Trump disputed reports by tweeting that White House staffers would “receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary” — an “adjustment” that the sitting president seemed to pat himself on the back for.
People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2020
Trump foot soldier McEnany took a cue from the President during her appearance on Fox News the day after.
When Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner argued that Trump’s tweet is “kind of a reversal” of the principle of “continuity of government” — which permits government officials to continue their essential operations during a wide range of emergencies — McEnany deflected by saying “that policy directive was actually passed by President Obama.”
Although Obama issued two executive orders in 2012 that greatly expanded presidential powers in the event of a national emergency, the country has had policy in place that predate Obama’s term to continue the operation of the government following a catastrophic attack.
“We were putting that into place,” McEnany said, before insisting that Trump was selfless in saying that frontline workers and residents at long-term care facilities “need to come first.”
McEnany touted that “we would still have continuity in government” as she didn’t deny that White House staffers and members of Congress members could get early access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“Key officials, like Situation Room staff among others, will have access to this vaccine, certain members of Congress,” McEnany said.
McEnany reiterated that “there will be continuity of government” while boosting Trump for his supposedly selfless approach to who should be at the front of the line in getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Trump has yet to issue public remarks addressing the record surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, which include nearly 300,000 fatalities from the pandemic thus far.
“But he is unashamed in saying number one, it is the most vulnerable, it’s our heroic frontline workers — who should be Time Person of the Year, by the way,” McEnany said. “And it should be our residents in long-term care facilities.”
Watch McEnany’s remarks below:
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany: "We would still have continuity in government. Key officials, like Situation Room staff among others, will have access to this vaccine, certain members of Congress." pic.twitter.com/vMuAabxq5S
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 14, 2020