Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany - September 24, 2020
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Washington, DC September 24, 2020 1:23 P.M. EDT
MS. MCENANY: Good afternoon, everyone. The radicals are in control of the Democrat Party. Make no mistake, Democrat radicals want to shatter norms and disregard precedent for the sake of the very norms and precedent they claim must be safeguarded.
They've proposed court packing - an egregious idea. They've entertained impeachment as punishment for the President exercising his lawful Article Two, Section Two authority to appoint - nominate, rather, a justice to the Supreme Court. They've advocated for the abolition of the Electoral College. These are all the tactics that they're using to sow chaos and discord. Likewise, they're endorsing a mass mail-out ballot system that will likely lead to the kind of weeklong delay New York witnessed in its recent primary.
Far-left radicals resort to tactics like this to push their extreme agenda because they cannot win on the merits; they cannot succeed based on the will of the American people. This administration will continue to call out these tactics, while Democrats should end their petty politics and get to work.
And with that, I'll take questions. Jon.
Q Yeah, Kayleigh, I'm wondering if you can just clean up or clarify something the President said yesterday. If he loses this election, can you assure us that there will be a peaceful transfer of power?
MS. MCENANY: You are referring to the question asked by the Playboy reporter, right?
Q I'm referring to - with the President being asked if there would be a peaceful transfer of power, and he did not say yes.
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I believe -
Q So I'm asking you: Will there be a peaceful transfer of power if he loses this election?
MS. MCENANY: I believe that question asked by the Playboy (inaudible) - in fact, I think I have it right here. He was asked -
Q I'm asking this question.
MS. MCENANY: He was asked - "win, lose, or draw" - whether he would accept the transfer of power. I'm not entirely sure, if he won, why he would accept a transfer of power. That is maybe the deranged wish of that reporter, but that's not how governing works.
Q But I'm asking a very direct and very simple question. If the President loses this election, will this White House, will this President assure us that there will be a peaceful transfer of power? It's a very simple question. We've been doing it since 1800.
MS. MCENANY: The President will accept the results of a free and fair election.
But I think that your question is more fitting to be asked of Democrats who have already been on the record saying they won't accept the results of an election.
In fact, I have several of them here for you. South Carolina Democrat Jim Clyburn has said that Trump "is not going to win fairly." Senator Barbara Boxer has said that the only way Trump will win is to "steal it." That's according to Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer.
The Washington Post has noted - they have a headline: "Democrats may not trust the results of the election if Trump wins."
And then you have that beautiful quote from Hillary Clinton that "Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstance."
So I think your fitting is more ques- - more a fitting - a fitting question for Democrats.
Q Kayleigh, just to understand this clearly: Are the results legitimate only if the President wins?
MS. MCENANY: The President will accept the results of a free and fair election. He will accept the will of the American people.
Q So, for clarity, if he loses and it's free and fair, he will accept that?
MS. MCENANY: I've answered your question. He will accept the results of a free and fair election.
Q Let me ask about Breonna Taylor, if I can, right now. First of all, I have just a little housekeeping: Has the President spoken to the family of Breonna Taylor?
MS. MCENANY: I'm not aware of any conversation that they've had, but our hearts do go out to her family.
Q Has the President spoken to the officers who were shot last night in Louisville?
MS. MCENANY: I'm not aware of any conversations.
Q So the President spoke to the officers who were shot in Los Angeles. But to this point, there's no indication the President, at any point over the last several months, has spoken to the family of Breonna Taylor. I guess, why not?
MS. MCENANY: The President routinely speaks to victims of horrendous tragedies. I've been here when he's met with the parents who lost their children to instances of police brutality. It was a really beautiful meeting, and the President consoled them.
He's talked to the widows who have lost their husbands to police officers. He's spoken to widows of fallen soldiers. He routinely reaches out to victims of all kinds of atrocities, and he'll continue to do that.
Q What is the President's message to the family of Breonna? I heard what - you say: "We grieve for them." But what is the President's message to the family of Breonna Taylor that does not believe they received justice?
MS. MCENANY: That our hearts go out to her. It was a horrible tragedy that happened, and that our hearts also are with the two police officers who were shot last night in the Louisville riots.
Q When you say "our," you mean - you mean the White House, including the President?
MS. MCENANY: Yes. I speak on behalf of the President. Yes.
Q Okay. Because that would be his thoughts go out to the -
MS. MCENANY: I am the President's spokesperson. I speak on his behalf, Peter.
Q Well, he - in fact, one of the aides just said that the President was his own spokesperson, which is why I asked. But go ahead.
MS. MCENANY: Ben.
Q So, Kayleigh, yesterday, when the President said "Get rid of the ballots...there won't be a transfer, frankly; there'll be a continuation," which particular ballots is he talking about wanting to get rid of? And why does he think that would help him get elected?
MS. MCENANY: The President wants to get rid of mass mail-out voting. And that's not because - he said clearly that that could go either way: It could damage either candidate's chances because it's a system that's subject to fraud.
In fact, in the last 24 hours, police in Greenville, Wisconsin, found mail in a ditch, and it included absentee ballots.
And also, I can confirm for you that Trump ballots - ballots for the President were found in Pennsylvania. And I believe you should be getting more information on that shortly. Here, in the last 24 hours, they were found cast aside.
Q So why, in the past hour, did the President tweet out, "Vote-by-mail ballots in my home state of FLORIDA begin going out TODAY! Make sure to request yours, fill it out & send it in"?
MS. MCENANY: The President has always made the distinction that absentee ballots - where you go through a process, where you request a ballot and you mail that in - that is a system that works.
But a system where you mass mail-out to voter rolls, which are not kept and maintained - where, in Los Angeles County, for instance, you have 120 percent of the county enrolled - that system is untenable. It doesn't work. It leads to what we saw in Nevada, where there were ballots languishing in trash cans and pinned to apartment boards.
Q Okay. And just finally: Today, FBI Director Wray testified on the Hill that he has not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it's by mail or otherwise. So if the President's own FBI director says this isn't a problem, why does the President keep saying it is?
MS. MCENANY: Well, as Attorney General Barr has said, we've never had an election where we've done mass mail-out voting like this before.
I would point you to a bipartisan study done by none other than Jimmy Carter, who said that these mail-in votes remain the largest source of potential fraud. And he even cited an example of a 1997 Miami mayor election that resulted in 36 arrests for absentee ballot fraud. That election had to be rerun, and the results were reversed.
That is an example from 1997, but there are many others, like Paterson, New Jersey, where four men were charged with voting fraud recently. Four more men were charged in California. And there's a ton of examples. I could get you an encyclopedia of fraudulent examples we've had.
Q So these ballots - these ballots are going out. If the President does win, will he still think it was rigged and fraudulent?
MS. MCENANY: I've already answered this question.
Q Kayleigh, the President's niece filed a lawsuit in New York State court today, alleging that the President and two of his siblings cheated her out of millions and squeezed her out of the family business, and we were hoping to get a reaction from the White House.
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, the only fraud committed there was Mary Trump recording one of her relatives, and she has really discredited herself.
Q Kayleigh, on TikTok, we know that the CFIUS negotiations are continuing. Can you say: Has the President been briefed in the last couple days about how the CFIUS negotiations are going? Do you know when those negotiations will end?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, not that - I'm not aware of the brief - his briefing schedule with regard to TikTok. But what I can say is what the President has said, which is that any deal has to be 100 percent, as far as national security is concerned. And I'd refer you to his comments, as well as those from the Department of Treasury. For any further specifics, I'd refer you there.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. The President suggested yesterday that he might overrule stricter standards at the FDA on a coronavirus vaccine. Why would the President not want strict standards for a vaccine on the coronavirus?
MS. MCENANY: Well, the FDA does have strict standards. They are the gold standard with regard to vaccines.