During a Tuesday morning appearance on Fox & Friends, Kayleigh McEnany was asked about President Donald Trump’s apparent evolution on the value of masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
She seemed to have no idea what the hosts were talking about.
“The president’s always been very clear where he stood on masks,” the White House press secretary stated. “He said, ‘If I couldn’t socially distance, I’d wear one.’ In his case, he’s the most tested person in America, so he’s very safe when he goes out and about.”
But Fox host Steve Doocy was not entirely satisfied with her revisionist history. “[Trump] has said that,” he said. “But we know the science, Kayleigh, is that the masks slow the spread.”
While people claim the masks “restrict my personal rights,” Doocy argued, “really they represent freedom, because if you wear a mask, people are going to be able to keep their businesses open, they don’t have to have more lockdowns, people will be able to go back to school.”
“It’s obviously a positive. That’s just science,” he added. “But for some people, it’s become a political thing, wearing a mask has become political. So my question to you, simply, is, is wearing a mask a political statement?” Doocy stopped short of accusing Trump of politicizing mask wearing, let alone his colleagues at Fox News.
McEnany again insisted that Trump “has been very clear that wearing masks has nothing to do with politics” and said, “it’s never been a political issue” for the president.
“So your message to people who will not wear a mask because they feel it’s infringing on their rights, they don’t want the government to tell them what to do, what do you say to those people?” Doocy pressed.
“Well, I’d say that the CDC has been clear that’s recommended, but not required,” McEnany replied. “There’s not a federal mandate, but if you can’t socially distance, follow the president’s lead and put on a mask. I think that’s the best way forward, and the president has been saying that for weeks.”
President Trump wore a mask in public for the first time just over a week ago, and posted a photo of himself in a mask on his Twitter feed for the first time yesterday. In the weeks and months before that, Trump joked that he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure” of seeing him in a mask and retweeted memes mocking his rival Joe Biden for wearing one (including one such post from Fox News analyst Brit Hume).
Just this past weekend, Trump told Fox News host Chris Wallace that he would not be implementing a nationwide mask mandate because he wants “people to have a certain freedom.”
“I don’t believe in the statement that if everyone wore a mask, everything disappears,” he said, adding, “As you know, masks cause problems too. That being said, I’m a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”