Skip to main content

Kayleigh McEnany
  White House Press Secretary Holds Briefing  CSPAN  December 2, 2020 5:16pm-5:43pm EST

5:16 pm
5:17 pm
resthrixes on places of worship. he said, quote, it is time, past time, to make plain that while the pandemic pose miss grave challenges, there's no world in which the constitution tolerates color coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shop bus shutter churches, synagogues and mosques. behind me you'll see displayed images of democrat hypocrisy playing on loop. these imannals depict the following. they show governor gavin newsom of california dining both maskless and indoors. at the fancy french laundry restaurant despite severe lockdown restrictions against indoor dining for the very people he governs.
5:18 pm
you'll see chicago mayor lori lightfoot celebrating in the nonsocially distanced streets of her city. you'll see speaker nancy pelosi indoors at a hair salon in san francisco when salons in california were only open for outdoor services. and you'll see cnn's chris cuomo stating his emergence -- staging his emergence from quarantine in a made for television moment coming out they have basement, this after he was spotted breaking his brother, governor you moe's, quarantine rules to go for a bike ride in the hamptons. also notable is san francisco mayor london breed who followed governor newsom's lead in dining at french laundry with a group of eight people and sheila khules dining at her favorite jut door restaurant after voting to ban outdoor dining calling
5:19 pm
outdoor dining a most dangerous situation. clearly these democrats do not follow their own edicts. they act in a way their own citizen are barred from acting. governor cuomo's decision to impose restrictions on the size of real jus gatherings was rebuked by the highest court in the land. but what was cuomo's response? instead of showing deference to the constitution, he attacked the he yit macy of the court. governor cuomo said this. you have a different court and i think that was the statement that the court was making, we know who he appointed to the court, we know their ideology. in fact the ideology of those on the supreme court who made the decision to support the first amendment are in favor of freedom, the constitution that survives even in a pandemic. this statement from governor cuomo strikes at the heart of the issue. democrats seek control. these images behind me make clear democrats mindset. rules for thee but not for me. the president stands with you,
5:20 pm
your freedom, your ability to decide how best to protect your health. we all know how to protect ourselveses from covid-19. wash your hands, socially distance, wear a mask. but as one federal court put it, there's no pandemic exception to the constitution. and with that, i'll take questions. welcome back, kristen. reporter: thank you so much, appreciate it. i want to ask about comments from the attorney general, to date we have not seen fraud that could affect the outcome of the election. why hasn't president trump conceded? kayleigh: he went on to say this, it was an a.p. interview where he made that comment, but in the same interview he said a lot of people are confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. and he discerned the fact that he said, quote, there's a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort
5:21 pm
of a default fix-all and the campaign's litigation is all civil litigation which is apart from something the d.o.j. would be involved in reporter: more than 40 cases brought by the president's legal team the majority have been denied or dismissed. the election results have been certified in all the battleground states. does the president still think he has a path to win? kayleigh: the president said he believes all legal votes should be counted, all illegal votes should not be count and the campaign is pursuing that litigation. i can't get into the details of that litigation but they have cases in nevada and wisconsin. reporter: how will he overturn results when they've been certified? kay kayleigh: the president is looking for every legal vote to be counted. reporter: do you have faith in attorney general bill barr? does he have faith in bill barr? kayleigh: if the president has personnel announcements he'll
5:22 pm
make those announcements. reporter: has the president spoken to bill bar since -- bill barr since the statement came out yesterday? kayleigh. i'm not sure if they've spoken. the attorney general was here to meet with the secretary. reporter: is the president issuing any preemptive pardons to any of his kids. kayleigh. i've heard no mention of any pardons of any conversations i've had other than the pardon of lieutenant general michael flynn, a three-star general who i've discussed from this podium before. he had his life ruined. he was a valiant hero who sembd his country on the battlefield and came to work in government. what happened to him was, there was an f.b.i. note that said they wanted to get lieutenant general michael flynn to lie. there was a criminal leak of his identity in a phone call he had. he was told no lawyers were needed in the discussion the
5:23 pm
f.b.i. was having with him. f.b.i. investigators then said they did not think lieutenant general flynn was lie bug yet he was still pursued in an unjust manner thunderstorm egovernment failed to provide the original f.b.i. 302's from that interview with an egregious miscarriage of justice. we're glad that justice was served for a war hero, lieutenant general michael flynn. reporter: is the president going to announce his 2024 candidacy before january 20 or even on january 20? kayleigh. i've not heard discussions of that. i'm aware of the reporting. the president' campaign is pursuing active litigation and that's the focus at the moment. reporter: it sounds like he plans to run again. dupe if that's a fact? ka league: i haven't spoken to him about that his campaign is pursuing litigation, i would redirect you to the campaign. >> they've been meeting with commissioner khan. did the white house get a heads up the u.k. would be approving the pfizer vaccine?
5:24 pm
ka league. i'm not aware of any heads up we were given. what i will say about dr. hahn is it is par for the course for the chief of staff to meet with him as we're tiing to save american lives with a vaccine in record time. in fact two vaccines, not only a vaccine in record time, you heard them say a vaccine normally takes from four years to 25 years. he said that in an interview last week. this was in 10 months. remarkable progress. but we still want to make sure it comes as fast as expeditiously awe but as safely as possible. we the that each day that passes there are more american lives at stake. so we want to make sure it comes out as quickly as the data allows it to. we want 40 million doses by the end of the year, a tremendous achievement, not just to have gotten the vaccine in record time but to have that many doses. the trump vaccine. reporter: a couple of things, going back to personnel, right
5:25 pm
before the election in a rally the president suggest head might i was . fauci after, wondering if you could comment on what dr. fauci's status is. kayleigh: i've heard no discussions of that, dr. fauci is still hard at work on the task force. reporter: two things the president mentioned as policy that would happen before the election that we haven't seen any obvious progress on, i wanted to check on. the first is the $200 medicare prescription drug card that was supposed to happen before the election and sort of vanished. kayleigh: let me follow up with the chief of staff, i haven't heard current discussions on it. reporter: he also promised an immigration order, an order on immigration to protect dreamers. he promised that before the election. kayleigh: he put forth many different immigration packages
5:26 pm
to protect american workers. i'll circle back but there were many iterations of immigration bills. reporter: is that still progressing? has he thrown in the towel? kayleigh: right now the focus is making sure there's stimulus relief for americans who are hurting right now. that's the current active policy priority that we are working on moment-by-moment along with covid. reporter: as demonstrated by the large red ribbon on the lawn of the white house, it was world aids day yesterday. the president made no reference to lgbtq people though they bear the brunt of hiv-aids. he made reference to racial and ethnic minorities. why not lgbtq people. kayleigh: the president honored world aids day in a way no president has before, i think he commemorated it in the way he should have. charlotte, go ahead. reporter: i wanted to ask about
5:27 pm
section 330. is president trump willing to allow government shutdown over that? kayleigh: the president made clear the importance of 230 and he, i would point you to his tweet about how that pertains to the ndaa. one thing i would say, when you look at 230, just to explain for the american public exactly what that is, it's essentially a shield that is given to social media networks because they claim to be the public square but in the case of twitter, twitter has become a publisher, choosing to fact check certain content. when you're a publisher there are serp responsibilities with that. you should not be immune from liability. when you look at what twitter has done on the ayatollah khomeini, we were looking at his twetter account before coming out here. a few weeks ago, the ayatollah khomeini of iran tweeted, why is it a crime to raise doubts about the holocaust, something not worthy of a flag by twitter which is despicable when you
5:28 pm
think about it. also the ayatollah tweeted the israel is a deadly, cancerous growth that should be uprooted and destroyed. something that twitter did not deem worthy of flagging or blocking in its entirety and in fact twitter executives defended -- move in front of the this is a very important issue and there's bipartisan agreement something needs to be done. the president will be unashamed in fighting against that kind of vitriol we see and hateful language that twitter is publishing. reporter: one more question about section 230. the democratic chairman of the house armed services committee put out a statement essentially saying that these two things are not related, section 230 and something as big and important for our national security as the ndaa. is president trump seriously considering in talking about vetoing the ndaa over section 230? kayleigh the president is
5:29 pm
serious about it. you have other world leaders making calls for genocide and twitter not finding that worthy of flagging or blocking. china is putting out disinformation. china tweeted out, i believe it was six days ago, november 25, that covid-19 did not originate in wuhan. something that was not deemed worthy of flag big twitter. there are real grave concerns here and the president stands by that it also is worth noting the president will always defend ore mull tear and ensure we get adequate defense funding as he's gotten $2.9 trillion so far. he's going to put the pressure on congress to step up on this. reporter: and one more question about attorney general barr's comments. you said you're not sure if the president and attorney general have spoken? kayleigh: i'm not sure if they've spoken. reporter: was president trump june set when he heard the attorney general say they have not uncovered widespread voter fraud? kayleigh: i haven't spoken with
5:30 pm
the president about a.g. barr or that comment. i would point everyone to the revised -- the sup lemal, i should say, not revised, comment that was put out by a.g. barr in the wake of media reporting that seemed to miscon true his -- misconstrue his state hefment said some media -- i should say the d.o.j. spokesperson, some media outlets have incorrectly reported that the department concluded its investigation of election fraud and announced an affirmative finding of no fraud. that's not what the a.p. reported or what the a.g. stated. i think the media didn't read beyond that one comment, the civil versus criminal part. reporter: the discrepancy is you have members of the trump campaign coming forward and saying there is hard evidence of widespread voter fraud enough to overturn the jut come of the election and the nation's top law enforcement officer, the attorney general, saying if there is he hasn't seen it. kayleigh: the attorney general is speaking to what come before
5:31 pm
his desk. i point you to the campaign for specific questions on this but i would just say generally they are pursuing civil litigation which in fact the attorney general explicitly said some of this is meant more for civil litigation which is what the campaign is currently pursuing. reporter: is the president seriously considering skipping the inauguration? kayleigh: i'll leave that to the president to make his announcement. he tweeted something to the effect that he know what is his decision is and he'll make his decision. reporter: what rationale could he have for skipping? kayleigh: i won't speculate on the president's decision. reporter: there was a report yesterday on federal officials pardongating a potential scheme. has anyone at the white house been questioned by federal law enforcement officials regarding potential bribes for pardons? kayleigh: no, the d.o.j. official said no government official was or is currently a
5:32 pm
subject or target of the investigation disclosed in the filings. reporter: thanks for taking my question. i wanted to ask about foib director ray. it looks like president-elect biden wants to keep him in his job. does that change the president's perspective on f.b.i. director wray? does he retain full confidence in him? kay reeg. he's made no assessments at least -- kayleigh: he's made no assessments at least in my presence about that and if we have personnel announcements we'll announce that reporter: on the vaccine, you said 40 million doses. i recall the president say, perhaps even you saying you were looking for 100 million coasts by the end of the year. 40 million is quite a bit short. can you just clarify that number. kayleigh: there are currently six vaccines we have identified as vaccines we were hopeful would come to fruition. with each -- with several of
5:33 pm
those, if not each of them, i can follow up on the exact number, we have manufacturing contracts, we have manufactured doses with several of these. but it is -- they have to come to completion. with each new vaccine that comes along with that will come millions and millions of doses that have already been manufactured in time. currently, of the four vaccines in phase three clinical trial, moderna, pfizer, astrazeneca, two of those have gotten to the point of applying for an e.u.a. it's incumbent on the manufacturer and those going through the phase 3 clinical trials to get that data to us. it's manufactured and ready to go. the moment someone else gets to a 94% effectiveness rate or whatever the barometer is, we will have those doses. reporter: go quick questions if i could. georgia officials have said election workers are facing threats because of the president's false claims about winning the state and his rhetoric about the election.
5:34 pm
does the president condemn threats against election workers or take any responsibility for that? kayleigh: we condemn any threats against anyone. what i will say though too is that the president's lawyers, they were docksed by a left organization. their private information put out. so we're seeing that happen to people on both sides of the argument and there's no place for that ever, anywhere. reporter: just real quick, the c.d.c. director said the next few months could be among the worst public health month -american history. does the white house -- is it setting a good example for the white house to go with in-person holiday parties at a time when the c.d.c. and other organizations are asking americans to forego those celebrations for their own safety? kayleigh: if you can loot businesses, burn down build, engage in protests, you can also go to a christmas party. you can celebrate the holiday of christmas. and you can do it responsibly. which is why the east wing has
5:35 pm
noted that they'll have smaller guest lists, masks will be available, social distancing is going to be encouraged. hand sanitizing stations among other measures. but we will engage in the celebration of christmas and there'll be a hanukkah celebration as well. reporter: does president trump, has he had any kind of conversations on capitol hill about challenging joe biden's electoral college vote in congress? we saw one of those allies today say he plans to do that. is that a conversation the president has had at all? kayleigh: not that i'm aware of. reporter: the white house coronavirus task force is practically telling governors that americans under the age of 40 who gathered with people outside their household at thanksgiving are dangerous to others and should isolate immediately. why is the white house not publicly sharing that same information with americans?
5:36 pm
kayleigh: what was that? reporter: the white house coronavirus task force is privately telling gompors. kayleigh: c.d.c. guidance out there as to when you should and should not isolate. i'll point you to that. that's all been publicly available since the beginning of all of this. reporter: some version of the defense authorization makes it to the president's desk with language that terminates section 230, would he sign it even as here's lang wang in there that renames con fed -- renames bases named after confederate officials? kayleigh: he's against the warren amendment. public polling is with him on that. how that intersects with the 230 , i'll have to follow up with him about. i don't know if that position has changed given what he tweeted recently but i will follow up on that. reporter: on china, joe biden told the "times" he doesn't want to roll back the china tariffs
5:37 pm
or phase one trade deal. do you know if the president plans on reaching out to mr. biden to talk about china trade, since it's been a hot policy issue, or any other policy really before january 20? kayleigh. i'm not aware of plans of that at the moment if i do i'll let you know. her kith. reporter: there are some examples of lawmakers talking about covid but where has president trump been in offering public leadership on this topic of the coronavirus especially as we've seen cases surge. we haven't seen the president making public comments or even tweets about this surge in cases. i'm curious what sort of examples you have. kayleigh. quite a bit. he's created the greatest testing system in the world. he gave a press conference about two weeks ago, i believe, on the vaccine which he has done at warp speed because he's torn down bureaucratic barriers. he's been hard at work, he's
5:38 pm
done i don't know how many coronavirus task force briefings from this podium. but the work he's done speaks for itself. the fact that now the case fatality rate in this country is 2%, it was 6% in april. is hat that means therapeutics, another thing that happened, mid november, got almost no attention but a testament to the president is the two new therapeutic, ren digs of -- one is an antibody, another is a regeneral ron therapeutic. these two therapeutics are given to people with mild to moderate covid symptoms that are at high risk for severe covid or hospitalization. so the fact that we've got to the point where we have therapeutics we can give you in advance to try to prevent you going to a hospital, we sent out 169,000 viles of one and 36,000 viles of another just in a few weeks. he's hard at work at this with the task force behind the scenes. when we talk about his public
5:39 pm
leadership, just on covid generally, i think it's a fitting time to note dr. fauci says we should keep schools open. he said that this sunday. this is something the president has said for months. caused me to go back to july and look at one of my briefing books from july 16, 2020, and what i found in there was this -- the science was always on our side about keeping schools open. way back in july. being acknowledged now but in july you had dr. redfield saying unlike flu, kids are not driving the transition cycle. dr. atlas, who has been a leading voice on keeping schools open, said everyone else in the western world are doing it, we can do it. this is back in july. we had a study from the netherlands about few reports of infections from schools that have stayed open. this was back in july. you had a yale school of public health professor named albert coe saying the bottom line is the impact of covid-19 on children is minimal or very low
5:40 pm
compared to other groups. there was a "lancet" quote to the same effect, back in yull when the president was saying keep the schools open, i'm looking a at the science. but what were democrats saying? when the president was following the science, here's what democrats were saying. governor gavin newsom said this i'm not taking pressure from trump on opening schools. governor cuomo saying it's not up to the president about opening schools. schools were shut down. mayor deblasio who reversed himself and announced kids can go back to school. back in july when science was on our side said what we won't do is ignore the science and recklessly charge ahead like our president, who was always following the science. jennifer rubin tweeting, now he wants to kill your kids. anderson cooper saying he actually just doesn't care about kids at all. nor the health of their teachers and parents. and you had the american federation of teachers and the national education association railing against the president as well. the president followed the
5:41 pm
science. he's also kept the constitution and he will be unashamed in advocating for the science and the best interest of the children in this country. thank you very much. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. if [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> you're watching c-span your unfiltered vaw of government. created by america's cable television companies. as a public service. and brought to you today by your television provider. with a peaceful presidential transition of pow for the question, sunday night on "q&a," 'res rian susan shelton and
5:42 pm
alk about the most contentious transition -list history between lincoln and -- >> several southern states didn't recognize the election of abraham lincoln as legitimate. they considered him a sectional president for the fact that by and large his support came from nonslave states. no sooner had he been elected than south carolina makes good on its promise to proceed toward seceding from the union. >> he had no choice given the resounding nature of the vote and the way it was reported in the press. it was clear he had lost the election. but he never conceded the substance of the argument. he believed that the new deal as president roosevelt framed it and began to work toward it after the election, represented fundamental threat td