Kayleigh McEnany was challenged to defend Donald Trump’s campaign rallies by a journalist on Wednesday — but she dropped a bomb that quickly shut him down.
In a moment later shared by Breitbart, the president’s press secretary likened a Trump rally to a “peaceful protest” and pointed out that CNN has tolerated massive demonstrations in support of Black Lives Matter, even despite COVID-19.
First Amendment rights
A reporter apparently thought he was being clever by noting Wednesday that Trump held a large campaign rally in North Carolina the night before, despite concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But the press secretary quickly observed that the media has not shown the same scrutiny to large anti-police brutality demonstrations — which they have effusively praised, contradicting their own admonitions to practice social distancing. McEnany said that Trump supporters have the same right to “peacefully protest” as anyone else.
“People have a First Amendment right, if they so choose, to show up and express their political opinion in the form of a peaceful protest, which is what the President held. And there is a real double standard here,” she said, according to a White House transcript.
She went on: “So if you’re allowed to march in aggregate in those protests, you are also allowed to show up at a political rally.”
McEnany went on to point to a CNN guest, Rob Davidson, who recently hailed a massive crowd of Black Lives Matter-aligned demonstrators at the nation’s capital while expressing “concern” about a White House gathering for the Republican National Convention.
The doctor seemed to admit that large crowds of all kinds could spread the coronavirus, but insisted that anti-racism protests were different for some reason.
“Now true, there’s social distancing issues. However, this is a public health crisis they are marching against. Systemic racism has taken so many lives in this country throughout our history,” he said.
Trump and his allies have taken to using the term “peaceful protest” in jest to refer to their own events after the media opted to apply the term indiscriminately to left-wing riots over the summer.
In North Carolina, Trump invoked the term while slamming the arbitrariness of coronavirus restrictions.
“You can’t go to church,” Trump said Tuesday, according to Politico. “But if you are willing to riot…you are allowed to do that because you’re considered a peaceful protester. So we decided to call all of our rallies peaceful protests.”