On Monday morning, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she had tested positive for COVID-19. McEnany joins a growing list of White House staffers and GOP Senators who have contracted the virus, including President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Aide to the President Hope Hicks, KellyAnne Conway, a former counselor to the president, Republican Senator Mike Lee, and Republican Senator Thom Tillis, both of whom are members of the Judiciary Committee.
McEnany announced her diagnosis in a Twitter statement: “After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,” she wrote. “No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit.” (It should be noted that on Sunday McEnany briefed reporters outside the White House without a mask on.)
Though she was only appointed to the role of press secretary in April of 2020, McEnany has spent the majority of her tenure as Trump’s mouthpiece. Already, the former RNC spokesperson boasts a list of detailed lies she has spread about the severity of COVID-19, as well as the president’s near non-existent response.
In February, she claimed the global pandemic wouldn’t hit the United States, saying that due to Trump’s travel restrictions “we will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here.” On July 16, McEnany argued that “science should not stand in the way” of schools reopening, despite the fact that as of September, over 500,000 children in the US had tested positive for COVID-19, and schools across the country have opened only to re-close as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks. And during a White House press briefing on Sept. 9, McEnany said, “the president never downplayed the virus.” This is all in spite of the fact that in February, Trump told reporter Bob Woodward that he purposefully downplayed the virus, saying, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Currently, more than 210,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and over 7 million have been infected. And many of these cases can be attributed to the current administration’s spreading of disinformation around the novel virus, with McEnany at the helm of it all.
According to her statement, McEnany says she plans to “begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American people remotely.” McEnany also called herself an “essential worker” in the Twitter memo, though this title is still very much up for debate.
At this point, former Vice President and Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden could run on one slogan and one slogan only: I promise I won’t infect you with COVID-19. Because, right now, that is not a promise the Trump administration can make.