CNN's Kayleigh McEnany defends Trump's sexist comments to Irish reporter
McEnany: "The press should be applauding the fact that he's bringing reporters into the oval office, calling them out and including them."
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From the June 28 edition of CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:
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BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): I'd love to talk to this reporter. I'd love to have her join me. She described this video as a bizarre moment, but, listen, I don't know what she means by bizarre. I wasn't in the room. That said, Liz Plank, when you first saw this video, what did you think?
LIZ PLANK: I mean, I think I feel like many women watching that video, which is just it made me feel very uncomfortable. And I'm imagining if I was in the White House as a reporter and that had happened to me, how I would have reacted. So yeah, I think if there's anyone in America who doubted that Donald Trump has a woman problem, the fact that he interrupted a phone call with a foreign leader to flirt with a female reporter is the sign that we were all waiting for. And this is not just obviously an isolated incident. We saw the way that he handled himself with other female reporters during the campaign. We obviously remember this March 2016 press conference where he literally invited a woman who was a blogger to come on stage, kissed her on the cheek, offered her a job because he loved her look. He went after Katy Tur in a way that was borderline obsessive to a point where she had to get her own security guards to just go cover Donald Trump and to cover the campaign. So, this seems like a pattern and it seems like a sign that he's not going to stop this behavior now that he's the president.
BALDWIN: All right. Kayleigh McEnany. Same question.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY: Yeah. Look, Brooke, Liz left out the times that Donald Trump has called out men, for instance, the Carrier speech when he called out TJ Bray. "What a good-looking, handsome guy you are, TJ." When he called up the male, big beautiful baby. He calls out people because he's a personable guy and you look at the Washington headline, and this is just another effort to distract, distort, demonize. Distract with this flashy headline, demonize the president as sexist. But when viewers watch the video, the one you just showed, what they see is not sexism but sensationalism. And I really think The Washington Post ought to get back to serious reporting because sexy headlines like that are what make the viewers and the voters distrust The Washington Post.
BALDWIN: OK. I'm listening to both of you ladies very clearly. But, Liz, let me just pressure you to Kayleigh's point. A lot of presidents -- [Democrats], Republicans -- they tease. They get to know reporters. They interact with them. Is this Washington or the internet or fill in the blank group of people overreacting? Is this just how he is, gets a little chummy with people in the room?
PLANK: I think getting chummy is one thing, but the way that Donald Trump handles himself with women is different from the way that he handles himself with men, and he even does this with people of his own staff. I mean, during the pre-inauguration dinner, he called Kellyanne Conway his "campaign manager baby." He made her twirl on stage and gave her, again, an awkward kiss. Is Donald Trump kissing male reporters? Is he offering them jobs based on what they look like? I mean, there's really -- it's misogyny. It's really hard to see anything else but that. And if you want to, Kayleigh, talk about the way that Donald Trump has handled himself with male reporters, we can talk about the way that he mocked a disabled reporter on the campaign trail because this reporter said things about him that he didn't like. We can talk about the way that he talked about Charles Krauthammer and mocked his disability as well when Katy Tur pressed him on an issue that he disagreed with Donald Trump about. This is a general problem with how he handles himself with the media mixed with a history and a pattern of sexism.
BALDWIN: Do you want to respond?
PLANK: And ablism and others.
MCENANY: Yeah. I do. We just watched Donald Trump with an all-male sports team talking with the people, calling people out of the crowd. This is what he does. I was at a Melbourne rally where he randomly called a man that he loved onto the stage. This is what he does, and, quite frankly, it's the reason why he won the election because when people were screaming sexism, like you just did, voters saw through it. They saw someone who likes people, likes to be around people, not someone whose sexist but someone who cares about women, cares about the American people, and they're not going to be distracted with headlines like this, stories like this, and complaints of sexism over him just saying that she had a nice smile. It's completely ridiculous.
BALDWIN: OK. And just lastly, just take away everything that -- previous things that critics could point out with the president. Kayleigh, in the sense it's the oval office. It's like hallowed ground. There is decorum. You don't feel like inviting this female reporter over to the desk and telling her she has a nice smile crosses any boundaries?
MCENANY: Not at all. You have all these complaints about media not being invited in the room, and these groups of Irish supporters weren't even supposed to be in the room. Donald Trump called them in, jovial conversation between the Irish press, the Irish prime minister. He called one reporter out and said, you have a nice smile, I'm sure you treat your prime minister well, talking about the way she covers the prime minister. The press should be applauding the fact that he's bringing reporters into the oval office, calling them out and including them.