White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a press briefing from the Brady Room. [Video and Transcript Below]
[Transcript] – MS. MCENANY: Hello, everyone. Where is Nancy Pelosi? The House is in recess. House and Senate Democrats left town after failing to compromise and make a deal to provide relief to the American people. While Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues went home, this President remained hard at work. President Trump took executive action, including stopping evictions; providing unemployment insurance; pausing student loan payments; cutting the payroll tax, which put money in the pockets of all Americans.
Democrats apparently were unable to stick around to make a deal. Now, suddenly, Democrats will be rushing back to Washington. But why? The answer: the United States Postal Service. It’s a stunning turn of events. Democrats went home after accomplishing nothing: no deal on stimulus checks, no deal on small-business relief, no deal on eviction protections. The concerns of everyday Americans were not the concerns of Democrats on Capitol Hill.
So where is Nancy Pelosi? She and her Democrat colleagues will be back in Washington soon to pursue their latest manufactured crisis: the Postal Service. Democrats denied a $10 billion offer for the U.S. Postal Service by this President before they went on recess. But now they’re back to pursue the latest Democrat-manufactured crisis. It’s sad, but it’s clear where Democrats’ priorities stand.
And with that, I’ll take questions.
Q Kayleigh, looking ahead to potential action at the United Nations: Will the President dispatch the Secretary of State to go to the U.N. to invoke the snapback clause on sanctions?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, so I have no announcements, and I won’t get ahead of the President. But what I will say is: The President has said that he will be willing to invoke the snapback option soon, and I’ll leave that to him.
Q Kayleigh, the President said this week: The only way we “lose this election is if the election is rigged.” It begs the question: Does the President believe there’s any circumstance under which he could lose the election fairly?
MS. MCENANY: The President believes he’s done a great job for the American people, and he believes that will show in November. He believes that voter fraud is real, in line with what we see all across the country, particularly with mail-in ballots, which are prone to fraud.
Q Thank you very much, Kayleigh. Two questions for you. Firstly, given the President’s tweet on Goodyear and lashing out at them, is the Beast still going to be using Goodyear tires?
MS. MCENANY: I’m not going to comment on security matters.
Q Okay. And then I want to follow up with a question that I asked the President last week but he didn’t answer. I asked him about QAnon. So I wanted to know: Have you ever heard the President talk about QAnon? And what does he think of the conspiracy theory?
MS. MCENANY: No, I’ve never heard of that. There’s a lot of media focus on that, but certainly never heard of that from the President.
Q Kayleigh, just a follow-up on what my colleague said over there. With regard to the President saying make sure to get out and vote because “the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged,” does the President — is the President saying if he doesn’t win this election, that he will not accept the results unless he wins?
MS. MCENANY: The President has always said he’ll see what happens and make a determination in the aftermath. It’s the same thing he said last November. He wants a free election, a fair election, and he wants confidence in the results of the election, particularly when you have states like Nevada doing mass mail-out voting to their voting rolls. And when they tried this in the primary, it was a massive failure. Ballots were piled up in trash cans. Ballots were pinned to apartment dartboards. And with that being the system, the President wants to take a hard look at this and make sure that these are fair election results and not subject to fraud.
Q So will he accept the results, Kayleigh?
Q Can you tell us if the White House has reached out to Pelosi or the Democrats to talk over the next couple of days about stimulus?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, so I have no updates on the personal conversations that we’ve been having. But what I’ll say is this: is I know the Speaker is interested in potentially a skinny bill with Post Office funding. But what we want here at the White House is we’re certainly open to Post Office funding. We did, after all, offer that $10 billion that was turned down.
So we’re open to that, but what we want to see in there is relief for the American people who are hurt through no fault of their own. For unemployed Americans, we want to see enhanced unemployment insurance. PPP: We want to see small businesses get taken care of. That money goes directly to payroll, so to pay workers and, thus, keep jobs. And we’re interested in seeing stimulus checks go out to the American people as well.
Q On the Post Office, are you able to share if you’re — if the White House is open to the $25 billion that the Democrats are proposing? Or is $10 billion the cap?
MS. MCENANY: No, we don’t have a cap. We’re certainly open to looking at the $25 billion, but we want included in there relief for the American people that, thus far, Speaker Pelosi has been entirely uninterested in, as this President has taken unilateral action to protect Americans subject to eviction, to protect Americans who are unemployed, to protect Americans via a tax cut through payroll deferral.
So this President has taken action. Still, we’re waiting on a reckless Speaker Pelosi to get back and do her job.
Q Just to follow up on that, and then I have another question: Are there other things that the President could do in the realm of the executive action to address this problem with the Postal Service to ensure that they’ve got sufficient funding? Is there anything that he could do to, sort of, fill the gap?
MS. MCENANY: So the Post Office does have sufficient funding through 2021, and they do currently have cash on hand. They’ve been given that $10 billion line of credit through the CARES Act. So that’s important to note.
And, look, we’re looking at the Post Office funding to do with Speaker Pelosi, but that must also include money for our hardworking Americans as well.
And the President, just to underscore this, mentioned yesterday that he wants to protect postal workers. These are great, hardworking Americans, and he wants to make the Post Office solvent and — to protect those post office jobs. And he mentioned Amazon — needing to raise the price of packages for Amazon as a way to help the solvency with the Post Office.
Q And a quick follow-up.
MS. MCENANY: Yes.
Q So with the recent agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, there is great interest on the part of the Emiratis to purchase F-35s. What is the President’s position on selling those high-end aircraft to the Emirates at this point? And would that require congressional changes to remove the qualitative military edge that is guaranteed to Israel at this moment?
MS. MCENANY: So we don’t confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they’re formally notified to Congress.
To circle back on your first point, too, about the Post Office funding, I did want to highlight a piece that was written by Ruth Goldway, who’s a retired Chairwoman and Commissioner of the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission. I believe it was in the New York Times. And she said, quote, that the Post Office “has access to about $25 billion in cash. Its own forecasts predict that it will have enough money to operate into 2021.”
So this notion that there’s this emergency for which Nancy Pelosi needs to rush back to Capitol Hill to solve is a farce. It is false. The real thing that’s happening here is Nancy Pelosi is feeling pressure from her members, from her constituents because she’s not delivered relief for the American people, and President Trump has.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. Today, the President encouraged Americans not to buy Goodyear tires, suggesting that they had a ban on MAGA hats. But it appears that their policy is just a ban on political speech. It’s pretty common for most companies. So why is the President retaliating against a private company for their dress code and potentially jeopardizing American jobs?
MS. MCENANY: So Goodyear needs to come out and clarify their policy. There was an image —
Q They have. They released a statement. Have you seen that?
MS. MCENANY: They failed to clar- — yes, I did see their statement, which still — still faired — failed to clarify their policy.
What happened is there was an image that was put out that showed that certain speech was acceptable — Black Lives Matter insignia, for instance — but what was not allowed was Blue Lives Matter; what was not allowed was MAGA hats.
What was clearly targeted was a certain ideology. They have not denied that that image was presented at one of their facilities, and they need to come out —
Q (Inaudible) racial equality, racial justice, that is okay, but not political speech. That’s pretty standard across the board right now. That’s not that unusual. Did the President even reach out to Goodyear before he tweeted?
MS. MCENANY: They came out and said “equity issues.” As far as I’m concerned, Blue Lives Matter is an equity issue. There have been police officers across this country that have been targeted because they wear the badge. Look no further than Dallas, where five police officers died.
So Black Lives Matter, an organization who’s — in their D.C. branch said, “Black Lives Matter means defund the police.” One of their presidents in New York said, “We will burn down the system.” We all remember, in 2015, the yelling of “Pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon” at a Black Lives Matter rally.
Q Did the President reach out to Goodyear to clarify the policy before —
MS. MCENANY: That speech is allowed, but —
Q — he potentially put U.S. jobs at risk?
MS. MCENANY: — Blue Lives Matter is not allowed? And I will stand at this podium and say Blue Lives Matter is an equity issue, and Goodyear needs to come out and acknowledge that.
Q Is the policy debate worth putting American jobs at risk?
Q But that’s not the reason he called for the boycott.
MS. MCENANY: Yes.
Q Does the White House —
MS. MCENANY: Well, (inaudible) address that. The reason he called for the boycott was over MAGA. MAGA is pretty much unanimous with Blue Lives Matter these days, if you’ve seen the endorsements.
Q Hi, Kayleigh. Does the White House support rolling back those existing operational changes that Louis DeJoy has done at the Postal Service, like those mail-sorting machines? He said he would pause the operational changes going forward, but does he — do you guys support rolling back the ones that have already affected mail delivery?
MS. MCENANY: So the President made his position clear on this yesterday, and it is making the Post Office solvent via Amazon package rates being raised.
It’s important to note how this works. So for letters, magazines, catalogs, the Post Office can only raise prices by the rate of inflation, whereas with packages and commercial freight, like Amazon, they can raise those competitive prices.
And the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has proposed doing just that, because we don’t believe that Amazon should be able to push expensive packages to the Post Office and burden them further — when they’ve already had issues with funding — and push it there, but yet take advantage of the cheaper shipping. It’s a business model that works for Amazon, but it’s not one that works for the American people and clearly not one that works for the Post Office.
Q But what about those specific operational changes?
MS. MCENANY: He’s — the President has made clear that Amazon — he thinks that’s the best way to go. And I’ll let him answer any further on that.
Q Thanks, Kayleigh. The President, last night, congratulated Laura Loomer for her primary win in Florida. He’s also backed Marjorie Taylor Green in Georgia. Both women have expressed anti-Muslim sentiments. Does the President endorse their view of — their views of Muslims? And does he believe that those views belong in Congress?
MS. MCENANY: Well, the President routinely congratulates people who offit- — who officially get the Republican nomination for Congress. So he does that as a matter of course. He hasn’t done a deep dive into the statements by these two particular women. I don’t know if he’s even seen that, but he supports the Muslim community; he supports the community of faith, more broadly, in this country.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. The President said that cost has been a consideration in selecting the White House as the location for his acceptance speech next week. And I’m wondering if cost, in terms of keeping costs down for security purposes, is a consideration when he’s selecting when to travel to his homes in Florida and New Jersey.
MS. MCENANY: Look, the President made clear that he wants to look at cost with regard to the convention. He always tries to. But the President is entitled, at times, to leave the White House, and he’s done that just like every past President has.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. Can you confirm that the U.S.-China trade deal phase one talks with Ambassador Lighthizer are still on track? And if so, do you have a date for those?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, so the trade representatives do speak, and the President has expressed his displeasure with China, with regard to COVID and the pandemic. I don’t have a date for any official talks, but it is safe to say, should they continue, it would be between the trade representatives.
Q Kayleigh, back — back to Goodyear for a second. Set the issue of the Beast aside. When the President says, “Don’t buy Goodyear tires. Get better tires for far less,” is he imploring that to his supporters? Or is that the official policy of the U.S. federal government that the President has directed, saying, “Do not buy Goodyear tires going forward”?
MS. MCENANY: The President was talking to his supporters when he tweeted that in particular. And, look, this President will never apologize for standing with law enforcement. He won’t. He thinks it’s unacceptable. If you can wear a Black Lives Matter hat, guess what? You should be able to wear a Blue Lives Matter one, too, particularly when our police officers are targeted like they were in Dallas; particularly when David Dorn lost his life amid these riots.
He will always stand against our police officers and Blue Lives Matter for some reason not being an equity issue, as Goodyear appears to maintain.
Q So for all the — so for all the fleets out there that have Goodyear tires on them, that inevitably need to be replaced, that is fine? Go ahead and purchase —
MS. MCENANY: I haven’t spoken to him about that in particular. You can ask him later in the 5:00 p.m. hour.
Q Thank you, Kayleigh. As the White House continues to spearhead its vision and its victories for Middle East peace, what commitments does the White House hope to establish with the visit of the Prime Minister from Iraq tomorrow?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, so that visit — we’re very much looking forward to that tomorrow. The President looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kadhimi to the White House. The U.S.-Iraq strategic partnership is based upon a common goal for a stable, secure, and prosperous Middle East, and Iraq is a key partner to the U.S. on a range of regional security issues, including the enduring defeat of ISIS. So all of those matters will be discussed tomorrow.
MS. MCENANY: Yes, John.
Q The President has been very bullish on the potential of convalescent plasma. And it appeared as though the FDA was poised to issue an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma. But a number of the President’s top advisors in the medical field, including Doctors Collins and Fauci, said, “Let’s put a hold on the EUA. It’s too early. We don’t yet know about the true efficacy of convalescent plasma.” Does the President agree with putting off the emergency use authorization, or does he have a different mind of it?
MS. MCENANY: Yeah, so I haven’t spoken to the President about that particular EUA. You can ask him that later this afternoon.
But I did follow up in — with the FDA on a testing issue. And I wanted to look into the average time for a point- of-care test because you all ask often about our point-of-care or more rapid test. And the average time for point-of-care test from submission to the FDA to decision for COVID-related, rapid point-of-care tests was 20 days. And, by comparison, that for Ebola, flu, and strep point-of-care test was over 100 days.
So this FDA, under this President, has managed to prove these rapid point-of-care tests that you all ask about at a rate five times faster than for Ebola, flu, and strep, which have taken more than 100 days on average.
And just before I walked out here, Attorney General Barr announced some very good new news. Last week, of course, we learned that the suspected killer of LeGend Taliferro was charged, which was very encouraging to see. Operation LeGend was, of course, named after LeGend Taliferro, the four-year-old boy who was shot and killed in his bed.
This has been going on for six weeks. There have been a thousand federal agents, from FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals, working side by side with state and local authorities. Operation LeGend is a very good example of cooperation and action, which is a sharp contrast to those who merely express empty sentiments or, worse, hold blatant disregard for the unacceptable violence in our cities, of which many children have fallen victim to.
The President cares. The President wants law and order restored. He wants peace in our streets. So this President took action. And today, the Attorney General can announce, under the leadership of this President, that federal agents have made over 1,000 arrests as part of Operation LeGend. Many of these arrests are for violent state crimes, including 90 homicides. And as AG Barr notes, that means 90 killers would still be on the streets today without the law and order actions of President Trump.
And as the mother of LeGend Taliferro said, this — she said, quote, “My one and only child who fought through open-heart surgery at four months is gone due to senseless gun violence. Children are supposed to be our future, and our [four-year-old] son did not even make it to kindergarten. I stand here today as a mother fighting against violence for my son LeGend Taliferro. My family and I support Operation LeGend, and we strongly want our communities and everyone else behind us.”
Today, LeGend Taliferro was once again honored by the actions of Operation LeGend, and we can thank President Trump and the work of Attorney General Barr for that great news.
Thank you all very much. The President will be back here in the 5:00 p.m. hour.