Kayleigh McEnany, the former Trump White House press secretary who was recently rewarded with a Fox News co-hosting gig, decided to toss out any shred of self-awareness on Monday and join in on the criticism CNN’s Brian Stelter has received for his friendly interview with the current White House press secretary.
During his Sunday media show Reliable Sources, Stelter sparked backlash—especially (but not solely) from the right—over what many found to be a “sycophantic” chat with White House spokesperson Jen Psaki. Much of the condemnation came over the way he kicked off the interview, asking Psaki, a former CNN contributor, what “does the press get wrong when covering Biden’s agenda.”
Fox News, having already dedicated digital articles to the online criticism Stelter received from the likes of Glenn Greenwald, ran several on-air segments early Monday raging against the fawning nature of the chat. And the network even decided that McEnany—perhaps the embodiment of right-wing media’s symbiotic relationship with a fact-free Trump administration—would be the perfect person to moderate one such discussion.
“Bootlicking, subservient, obsequious—just some of the words critics are using to describe the questions CNN’s Brian Stelter lobbed at White House press secretary Jen Psaki in an interview that aired yesterday,” the former Trump flack exclaimed at the top of the segment.
McEnany, who was hired by Fox News in March and subsequently handed the title of co-host of midday panel show Outnumbered, went on to complain that the White House press corps is too easy on Psaki compared to her own time on the job.
She accused Stelter of serving as a propagandist for the current administration, mockingly saying he wears a “Joe Biden jersey” while claiming his show’s ratings are down lately because “people are seeing through this.”
Another member of the Outnumbered panel was Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee, whose daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders was also hired by Fox News after serving as a Trump press secretary. (Sanders eventually left Fox after she parlayed her network appearances into an Arkansas gubernatorial campaign.)
McEnany raging against a “bootlicking” interview of a White House flack comes across as just a tad hypocritical, of course, considering her own experience with Fox News.
Even before the network hired her, prompting network insiders to blast Fox for bringing aboard a known liar and “mini Goebbels,” McEnany long received the VIP/kid gloves treatment from Fox’s stable of pro-Trump programs.
Sean Hannity, for instance, featured McEnany on his primetime show on a near-nightly basis following Trump’s decisive election loss, allowing her to uncritically peddle the former president’s election lies and voter-fraud conspiracy theories.
And yet, despite her long history of pushing falsehoods and misinformation, Fox’s so-called “hard news” side welcomed McEnany after her time in the White House, featuring her as a legal and political analyst on the network's dayside news programs. “It is my distinct pleasure today to welcome Kayleigh McEnany to the Fox family,” anchor Harris Faulkner cheerfully declared in March.
Faulkner, who is now McEnany’s co-host on Outnumbered, meanwhile likened Stelter’s Psaki interview to a “cup of hot English Breakfast tea with a splash of cream and honey.”