During today’s White House press briefing, CNN correspondent and Politico’s chief Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza engaged in the typical media bad-faith practice of asking absurd questions in order to create a soundbite for attention. Lizza pointlessly asked press secretary Kayleigh McEnany whether President Donald Trump believed it “was a good thing” the Confederacy lost the Civil War.
The ridiculous and partisan idea posing as a question introduced a question about potentially banning Confederate flags from Trump’s rallies and events, in the wake of NASCAR’s similar ban, after posturing about preserving memorials to the Confederacy.
McEnany responded by stating the obvious, saying, “Your first question is absolutely absurd. He’s proud of the United States of America.”
On the controversial subject of removing statues, McEnany cited a recent Harvard/Harris poll, which showed that the majority of Americans are not in favor of tearing down Confederate monuments, with the preference for preserving our history rather than ignoring and avoiding it.
Lizza pushed back, pressing McEnany for a concrete answer about whether or not Trump will ban Confederate flags from his rallies. While she acknowledged that questions surrounding rallies should be directed to the campaign, she said the president is focusing on returning peace and stability to our country, which is far more important than what is being waved at his rallies.
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 29, 2020
Throughout her tenure as press secretary, McEnany has handled absurd, unproductive questions with grace. Like she did today, McEnany regularly turns the questions around to highlight the bias and politicization of the press briefings, which all too often are used not to inform the public about what is going on in the White House, but as a fraught attempt to embarrass the president.
It is unsurprising that Lizza, who was fired from The New Yorker for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior, is behind such pointless partisan questions. Just two years ago, he published a hit piece in Esquire on Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., which promised a politically salient secret, but instead said nothing of value, replacing innuendo and suggestion about the congressman’s family.
A man who believes people’s discomfort with being followed around by a man recently accused of sexual misconduct indicates a family member’s guilt is the same person expected to make ridiculous, politicized remarks and pretend they’re fair and important questions.
Paulina Enck is an intern at the Federalist and current student at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service. Follow her on Twitter at @itspaulinaenck