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'I will not lie, you have my word on that:' New White House press secretary hosts first briefing

White House press secretary to host briefing for first time since March 2019
Posted at 10:21 AM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 14:54:58-04

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany made her first on-camera appearance in the briefing room Friday and promised reporters that she would be truthful during briefings.

"I will not lie, you have my word on that," McEnany said when asked directly if she would lie on behalf of the president.

Friday's press briefing was the first one held by a White House press secretary since March 11, 2019.

Among the topics discussed during Friday's briefings were Trump's comments on Thursday that he had seen evidence that the coronavirus had originated in a lab in Wuhan, China — something intelligence community officials have not confirmed. McEnany claimed Trump's comments were consistent with that of the intelligence community.

McEnany was also asked about presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's denial of sexual assault rumors Friday, saying she was glad Biden had gone "on the record" with his denial.

She also addressed rumors that Trump was considering putting tariffs on Chinese goods as a response to the coronavirus. McEnany said she would not "get ahead" of the president in any announcements, but added the administration was not happy with China.

McEnany was appointed as press secretary on April 7. She took over for Stephanie Grisham, who went her entire nine-month tenure without holding an on-camera press briefing.

She also said Friday she plans to hold more press briefings in the near future.

McEnany previously served as a national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. She's the fifth person to serve as press secretary in President Donald Trump's administration.

The briefing comes as the White House has stopped scheduling daily press conferences with the coronavirus task force. Trump and health officials held briefings almost daily from mid-March to late April.

During an April 23 briefing, Trump asked health officials to investigate a method to inject sick people with disinfectant in the hopes of killing the coronavirus. Since then, the coronavirus task force has held just two press conferences.

Multiple reports indicate that Trump's comments prompted a decrease in daily briefings.

McEnany seemed to indicate that her future press briefings would not feature the administration's top health officials like Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci. She added those officials would still be making media appearance elsewhere, but indicated she will take control of briefings as the country enters a "reopening phase."

Trump appeared on camera for public events not related to the coronavirus this week — on Tuesday, he spoke about the Paycheck Protection Program, and on Thursday, he held an event about keeping seniors safe.