White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was having a bad day. All she wanted to do was talk about violent "Democrat run" cities, and those mean reporters just kept asking her about stuff the president actually controls. Like his own Twitter account and the federal pandemic response. Unfair!

She started off strong, with a sideswipe at Trump's critics by citing his "two defining, unifying, and patriotic speeches, which drew widespread praise by those who cherish our values, honor our history, and seek to advance policies that lift up all Americans." Did you think his speeches were racist dreck? Why do you hate America?

Then she made some noises about the statues and accused the media of doing culture war crimes: "This vision is not a culture war, as the media seeks to falsely proclaim; it's an embrace of our American family, our values, our freedom, and our future."

But then it was question time, and those assholes in the White House press corps didn't want to just give her more opportunities to praise Trump's godlike awesomeness. They didn't ask about Black on Black crime or why Democrats want to celebrate Independence Day by wrapping statues of Lincoln in the American flag and setting them on fire. No, they just wanted to talk about the Bubba Wallace tweet and the Confederate flag. Ugh, rude!


The first reporter asked why her boss is "so supportive of flying the Confederate flag?"

"Well, I think you're mischaracterizing the tweet," she huffed. "The tweet was aimed at pointing out that the FBI report of the alleged hate crime at NASCAR concluded that the garage door pull, which had been there since last fall, was obviously not targeted at a specific individual because, in fact, it was a garage pull and, in fact, it was there since last fall, long before these 43 teams arrived. And it was concluded by the FBI that this was, quote, 'not an intentional racist act.'"

Not a noose?Image via NASCAR

When pressed why the president said incorrectly that NASCAR ratings were down because they banned the Confederate flag, McEnany chided the reporter for "taking his tweet completely out of context," by which she meant quoting the president's words and not the magical spin they cooked up afterwards in the panic room cum comms center at the White House. See, when Trump asked why Bubba Wallace hadn't "apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX," what he meant was, why is the media racist against NASCAR fans. Obviously!

"At the very end, the ban on the flag was mentioned in the broader context of the fact that he rejects this notion that somehow NASCAR men and women who go to these sporting events are racist," McEnany insisted. "When, in fact, as it turns out, what we saw with the FBI report and the alleged incident of a hate crime — it was a complete indictment of the media's rush to judgment once again, calling this a hate crime when the FBI completely dismissed that."

Luckily someone jumped in with a coronavirus question, giving the press secretary a golden opportunity to brag about the millions of Americans who catch COVID and don't even die thanks to "the great work of this administration with therapeutics and remdesivir and dexamethasone."

But then it was back to NASCAR and the damn flag. GRRRR.

If those nasty reporters refused to be fobbed off with vague assertions that Trump was "not making a judgment one way or the other" when he yelled at NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag, then she'd have to pull out the big guns.

The intent of the tweet was to stand up for the men and women of NASCAR and the fans and those who have gone, and this rush to judgment of the media to call something a hate crime when, in fact, the FBI report concluded this was not an intentional racist act. And it very much mirrors other times when there have been a rush to judgment, let's say with the Covington boys or with Jussie Smollett.

Jussie Smollett. DRINK!

Why is it the responsibility of NASCAR's sole black driver to apologize since he neither found the noose AHEM DOOR PULL, nor made any accusations about hate crimes?

Well, look, the FBI, as I noted, concluded that this was not a hate crime, and he believes it'd go a long way if Bubba came out and acknowledged that as well.

Which is not an explanation for the demanded apology. But anyway, ummm, Jussie Smollett?

He believes the American people are good. And the allegations and the rush to judgement with Jussie Smollett and the Bubba Wallace case and with the Covington Catholic boys, we shouldn't be so quick to jump onto those narratives. Those are just three examples of those that have been proven false.

Make mine a double, bartender.

I've explained to you — this is, I guess, the fourth attempt, but we'll try it again — in aggregate, what he was pointing out is this rush to judgment to immediately say that there is a hate crime, as happened in this case, as happened with Jussie Smollett, as happened with the Covington Catholic boys. In an aggregate, those actions made it seem like NASCAR men and women were racist individuals who were roving around and engaging in a hate crime.

Cripes, we'll all be hammered before lunch at this rate. Also, there's no better way to show you're one with the people than to refer to them as "NASCAR men and women."

Why should Wallace apologize?

"I'm not going to answer a question a sixth time."

GOT IT. Anyway, why isn't the president willing to condemn the Confederate flag when even Mississippi has voted to take it down?

It's really quite appalling what we've seen happen across the country, and the President wants no part in cancel culture. He wants to no part in the tearing down and defacing of Matthias Baldwin, an abolitionist; Philadelphia Civil War soldiers; John Greenleaf Whittier vandalized, an abolitionist. He wants no part in this, and he stands against the demonization of Americans, and he stands firmly on the side of preserving our history.

Ohhhhhh, cancel culture. Well, that clears it up.

Hey, if you don't want to talk about flags, how about another COVID question, since the UK and Canada are still building a wall to keep us germy Americans out.

I think the world is looking at us as a leader in COVID-19 ...

In deaths and cases, yes.

... because the chart I showed you, where you have mortality rate — and Italy and UK up here and across Europe, and you have the United States at a low case mortality rate — it's because of the extraordinary work that we've done on therapeutics and getting PPE and leading on ventilators and having excess ventilators that we were able to deploy around the world and help other countries. So that's what I would have to say on COVID.

UH HUH.

COVID fatality rate of countries currently most affectedvia Johns Hopkins

Excellent. Want to flounce off with another jab at black cities?

Why won't Bubba Wallace apologize for Black-on-Black crime, that's what Kayleigh McEnany wants to know!

Slow fuckin' clap.

[ Transcript Briefing July 6]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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