Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany | December 2, 2020
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Washington, DC November 26, 2020 1:05 P.M. EST
MS. MCENANY: Good afternoon, everyone. The United States Constitution matters even during a pandemic. While Democrat politicians seek to impose draconian restrictions against their citizens, this past week the Supreme Court of the United States had their say on New York State's capacity restrictions, which restricted the number of attendees allowed in places of worship but not other government-deemed essential businesses.
Justice Gorsuch, in the ruling, said this as he rolled back Governor Cuomo's restrictions on places of worship. He said, quote, "It is time - past time - to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques."
Behind me, you will see displayed images of Democrat hypocrisy playing on loop. These images depict the following:
They show Governor Gavin Newsom of California dining both mask-less and indoors at the fancy French Laundry restaurant despite severe lockdown restrictions against indoor dining for the very people he governs.
You'll see Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot celebrating in the non-socially distanced streets of her city.
You will see Speaker Nancy Pelosi indoors at a hair salon in San Francisco when salons in California were only open for outdoor services.
And you will see CNN's Chris Cuomo staging his emergence from quarantine in a made-for-television moment, coming out of the basement. And this was after Cuomo was spotted breaking his brother, Governor Cuomo's quarantine rules to go for a bike ride in the Hamptons.
Also notable is San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who followed Governor Newsom's lead in dining at the French Laundry with a group of eight people.
And, finally, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl dining outdoors at her favorite Santa Monica restaurant after voting to ban outdoor dining at 31,000 restaurants throughout LA, calling outdoor dining "a most dangerous situation."
Quite clearly, these Democrats do not follow their own edicts. They act in a way that their own citizens are barred from acting.
Governor Cuomo's decision to impose restrictions on the size of religious gatherings was rebuked by the highest court in the land. But what was Cuomo's response? Instead of showing deference to the Constitution, he attacked the legitimacy of the Court. Governor Cuomo said this: "You have a different Court, and I think that was the statement that the court was making. We know who he appointed to the court. We know their ideology."
Well, in fact, the ideology of those on the Supreme Court who made the decision to support the First Amendment are in favor of freedom, the Constitution that survives even during a pandemic.
This statement from Governor Cuomo strikes at the heart of the issue: Democrats seek control. These images behind me make clear Democrats' mindset: rules for thee but not for me.
The President stands with you, your freedom, your ability to decide how to best protect your health. We all know how to protect ourselves from COVID-19: wash your hands, socially distance, wear a mask.
But as one federal court put it, "There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution."
And with that, I'll take questions.
Welcome back, Kristen. Good to have you back.
Q Thank you so much. Good to see you. Thank you. Appreciate it.
I want to ask you about comments that the Attorney General made to the Associated Press. He said, quote, "To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could've affected a different outcome in the election." Given that, why hasn't President Trump conceded?
MS. MCENANY: So, first, he went on to say this. It was in an AP interview where he made that initial comment, but in that same AP interview, he went on to say that he thinks a lot of people are confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. And he discerned the fact that - he said, quote, "There's a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all." And the campaign's litigation is all civil ligation, which is apart from something that the DOJ would be involved in.
Q To follow up with you on that: Of more than 40 cases that have been brought by the President's legal team, the majority have been denied or dismissed. The election results have been certified in all of the battleground states. Does the President still think he has a path to win?
MS. MCENANY: The President has said that he believes all legal votes should be counted and all illegal votes should not be counted. And, in fact, the campaign is pursuing that litigation. I can't get into the details of that litigation here, but they still do have active cases in Nevada and Wisconsin.
Q But how does he overturn the results when they've already been certified in these battleground states, Kayleigh?
MS. MCENANY: Again, the President is just looking for every legal vote to be counted, and I will leave it to the campaign to pursue their end.
Q And one more. Does he have faith in Attorney General Bill Barr? Does he still have confidence in Bill Barr?
MS. MCENANY: The President, if he has any personnel announcements, you will be the first to know it.
Yeah. We'll go for Janet.
Q Thank you. Two questions. Has the President spoken to Attorney General Bill Barr since his comments came out yesterday?
MS. MCENANY: I'm not aware if they've spoken. I know the Attorney General was here yesterday for a pre-planned meeting with the Chief of Staff, and they discussed an array of issues. But I'm not aware if the President has spoken to him directly.
Q And has the President considered any preemptive pardons to any of his kids? Has he been talking to Attorney Giuliani about this?
MS. MCENANY: I've heard no mention of any pardons in any conversations I've had in the White House other than the pardon of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a three-star general, who I've discussed from this podium before, who had his life ruined. He was a valiant hero who served his country both on the battlefield and then came to work in government.
And what happened to him was there was an FBI note that said they wanted to get Lieutenant General Michael Flynn to lie. There then was a criminal leak of his identity in a phone call he had. He was told no lawyers were needed in the discussion the FBI was having with him. FBI investigators then after said they did not think that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn was lying, but yet he was still pursued in an unjust manner, and the government failed to provide the original FBI 302s from that interview. It was an egregious miscarriage of justice, and we're finally glad that justice was served for a war hero, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.
Q Is the President planning to announce his 2024 candidacy in a formal event here at the White House before January 20th or even on January 20th?
MS. MCENANY: I've not heard any discussions of that. I'm aware of the reporting, but the President's campaign is currently pursuing active litigation, and that is the focus, at least at the moment.
Q You heard his comments last night. It sounds like he's planning to run again. Do you know if that's a fact?
MS. MCENANY: I haven't spoken to him about that again. His campaign is pursuing litigation. I would redirect you to the campaign. Yeah.
Q Mark Meadows has been meeting with Commissioner Hahn. What is being discussed? And also, did the White House get a heads up that the UK was going to be approving the Pfizer vaccine?
MS. MCENANY: I do - I'm not aware of any heads up that we were given. But what I will say about Dr. Hahn is: It is par for the course for the Chief of Staff to meet with him as we're trying to save American lives with a vaccine in record time - in fact, two vaccines, not only a vaccine in record time.
You heard Moncef Slaoui say a vaccine normally takes anywhere from 4 years to 25 years. He said that in an interview last week, and this was in 10 months. It's remarkable progress, but we still want to make sure that it comes as fast - as expeditiously, but as safely as possible, because we know by - that each day that passes, there are more American lives at stake. So we want to make sure it comes out as quickly as the data allows it to.
And we will have 40 million doses by the end of the year, which is a tremendous achievement - not just to have gotten a vaccine in this time, but to have produced 40 million in advance. It's - having a businessman as President, it's the Trump vaccine.
Q Thanks. I had a couple of policy things, but first I just wanted to go back to what you said about personnel. Right before the election, in a rally, the President suggested that he might fire Dr. Fauci after - after the vote had happened. And so I was wondering if you could comment on what Dr. Fauci's status is and if you have any (inaudible).
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, I've had - I've heard no discussions of that. Dr. Fauci is still hard at work on the task force.
Q And then there were two things that the President mentioned as policy goals that would happen before the election that we haven't seen any sort of obvious progress on, so I wanted to check in on those.
The first is the 200-dollar Medicare Prescription Drug Card; that was supposed to happen before the election. It seems to have sort of vanished, so I was wondering if you could give an update on that.
MS. MCENANY: Let me follow up with the Chief of Staff on that. I haven't heard any current discussions about it, but I will follow up with you.
Q And then, he had also promised an immigration order - an executive order on immigration that would protect DREAMers. Again, he promised that before the election. Do you have any update?
MS. MCENANY: He put forth many different immigration packages on HB1 [sic] visas and others to protect American workers. I'll circle back, but there were many iterations of immigration EOs prior to the election.
Q Are those - is that work progressing at this point? Or are you sort of throwing in the towel?
MS. MCENANY: I think right now the focus is making sure that there is stimulus relief for Americans who are hurting right now. So that is the current active policy priority that we are working on moment by moment, along with COVID.
Q Kayleigh, as demonstrated by the large red ribbon out here on the White House, yesterday was World AIDS Day. The President issued his proclamation yesterday, but, consistent with his previous three proclamations, omitted any reference to LGBTQ people, even though they bear the brunt of HIV/AIDS. The President included a reference to racial and ethnic minorities, so why not LGBTQ people?
MS. MCENANY: The President honored World AIDS Day yesterday in a way that no President has before, with the red ribbon there. And I think that he commemorated the day as he should have.
Q But that doesn't explain why there's no reference to LGBTQ people in the proclamation.
MS. MCENANY: Charlotte, go ahead.