As expected, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was called on to defend President Donald Trump’s threats against the state of Michigan for mailing absentee ballot applications to residents in the middle of a pandemic. She struggled to come up with a coherent explanation.
Asked what exactly Trump believes is “illegal” about Michigan’s secretary of state’s action, McEnany was not able to answer the question but rather claimed that his tweets were “meant to alert” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget about his “concerns” over sending money to states amidst “potential” fraud from mass mail-in voting procedures. “With regard to the illegality and legality of it, that’s a question for the campaign,” she added.
From there, CNN’s Kaitlin Collins pointed out the apparent hypocrisy of Trump’s comments, given that he himself has used a mail-in ballot to vote in the Florida primary as recently as two months ago.
“The president is, after all, the president,” McEnany replied, nonsensically, “which means he’s here in Washington. He’s unable to cast his vote down in Florida, his state of residence.”
The press secretary then told reporters that President Trump “supports mail-in voting for a reason, when you have a reason that you are unable to be present.”
“But there’s a pandemic going on,” Collins responded.
“Right now,” McEnany said. “We’re very far from November 3rd. I’m glad that you have a prediction tool and can tell us what will be happening on November 3rd. I certainly don’t, nor does the president.”
Besides the fact that, as Collins pointed out, these vote-by-mail procedures also affect upcoming primary elections, many states—including those run by Republicans—are making efforts now to allow people to vote absentee because if they wait until the fall and the coronavirus pandemic is still making it dangerous to vote, it will be too late.
Finally, McEnany was asked by another reporter why Trump didn’t just speak to Mnuchin and OMB Director Russell Vought directly instead tweeting his message to the world. “Because the president believes in unprecedented transparency,” she said.