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Kayleigh McEnany said coronavirus wouldn’t come to America—now she has it

It's the ghost of interviews past.


Claire Goforth


Published Oct 5, 2020   Updated Oct 5, 2020, 2:07 pm CDT

On Monday morning, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany revealed that she’d tested positive for coronavirus.

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The news dredged up clips of her talking to reporters without a mask the day before her diagnosis, and opining on television last winter that it wasn’t going to affect the country. Neither is a particularly good look.

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McEnany’s diagnosis comes amid a wave of coronavirus infections in the White House. The list of infected thus far includes the president and the first lady, Chris Christie, Kellyanne Conway, three Republican senators, and others in President Donald Trump’s inner circle. The president has been hospitalized since Oct. 2; he will reportedly be released this evening.

McEnany claims she first learned that she was exposed to COVID-19 on Oct. 1.

Afterwards, McEnany continued interfacing with the press. She is among many prominent Republicans who seem to believe—falsely—that testing negative for the deadly virus means that you aren’t infected.

According to the administration’s own medical experts, it can take up to two weeks after exposure to test positive for COVID-19, a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a 14-day quarantine after exposure, and avoiding contact with people at increased risk of falling seriously ill or dying from the disease.

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Nevertheless, on Oct. 4, McEnany took off her mask to address reporters.

The internet reacted to McEnany’s behavior with a massive facepalm.

“Yes, take the mask off right as you get to the people so that you can spread as much virus as possible,” tweeted Jon Favreau, co-host of Pod Save America.

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McEnany’s maskless moment wasn’t the only one coming back to haunt her. Last winter, McEnany claimed that the Trump was going to protect the United States from coronavirus.

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here,” McEnany said during a Feb. 25 appearance on Fox Business. “…And isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?” McEnany was named press secretary six weeks later.

The administration’s coronavirus response has been thoroughly criticized since then. The U.S. leads the world in coronavirus deaths and infections, with 210,000 and 7.4 million, respectively.

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So it was perhaps only natural that the internet collectively rolled its eyes at the resurfaced clip.

“Hubris in its most smug form,” quipped @Crusher_Craven.

“Isn’t this clip refreshing?” Michael Buckley tweeted sarcastically.

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In a statement released on Twitter, McEnany said she isn’t experiencing any symptoms and will work remotely during quarantine. Two others who work in the White House press office have also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

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*First Published: Oct 5, 2020, 2:01 pm CDT