This was a strong show of force by the new press secretary and is an indication of how press briefings will be conducted from now on.
“In a previous life, before you were press secretary, you worked for the campaign,” Mason said, noting that McEnany had once declared that Trump would not allow coronavirus to spread to the United States. “Given what has happened since then, obviously, would you like to take that back?”
McEnany began by adding context to her initial comment, saying that preventing the spread of coronavirus to the United States had been the intent of Trump’s move to ban travel from China.
But then McEnany turned the question back on Mason, saying, “I guess I would turn the question back on the media and ask similar questions. Does Vox want to take back that they proclaimed that ‘the coronavirus would not be a deadly pandemic’? Does the Washington Post want to take back that they told Americans to ‘get a grip, the flu is bigger than the coronavirus’? Does the Washington Post likewise want to take back that ‘our brains are causing us to exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus’? Does the New York Times want to take back that the ‘fear of the virus may be spreading faster than the virus itself’? Does NPR want to take back that ‘the flu is a much bigger threat than the coronavirus’? And finally, once again the Washington Post, would they like to take back that ’the government should not respond aggressively to the coronavirus’?”
“I’ll leave you with those questions, and maybe you’ll have some answers in a few days,” McEnany concluded, bringing the briefing to an abrupt end as she walked away from the podium.