On Tuesday morning, during a heated exchange with Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany about whether President Donald Trump would condemn foreign election interference, in light of new reports suggesting Russia meddled in European elections, Al Jazeera reporter Kimberly Halkett made a comment that sounded to some self-appointed internet sleuths like she called McEnany “a lying bitch.”
While McEnany is, like almost every member of the Trump Administration, a liar, Halkett claims that what she actually said in the moment was “Okay, you don’t wanna engage.” I have listened to this clip over and over again to try and determine the truth, and I must agree with Halkett here.
Perhaps it is a Republican spin operation—an attempt to reframe the narrative after reports surfaced of Republican Rep. Ted Yoho calling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “fucking bitch” outside the Capitol building on Monday. Perhaps the accusation is meant to distract from what McEnany said during the rest of the 26-minute briefing: in a slew of bizarre fallacies she suggested that Americans receiving unemployment benefits were “overpaid,” claimed that the President has always had consistent messaging on face masks and gets tested for covid-19 “multiple times a day,” and conveyed that Trump considers the charges against the St. Louis couple that pointed guns at protesters “absurd.”
McEnany also reiterated that Trump remains focused on restoring “law and order.” She decried the “anarchy and chaos” coming from protesters in Portland and denied that there were any secretive operations going on in the city, while federal agents in unmarked vans snatch and beat up citizens under the guise of protecting a federal courthouse. McEnany also stated twice that there has been no announcement regarding whether agents will be sent to Chicago, despite the President explicitly threatening to do so.
So no, it appears that an Al Jazeera reporter did not call McEnany a “lying bitch” during a televised press briefing, because she has at least a shred of professionalism and respect. I’m not sure you could say the same about McEnany!
Update Tuesday, July 21st at 5:13PM: The White House transcript confirms that the Al Jazeera reporter’s comment was “Okay, you don’t want to engage.”