Trump's new press secretary called his comments 'racist' and said he was a 'showman' in 2015By Mark Pygas
May 8 2020, Updated 11:25 a.m. ET
If you're having trouble keeping up with the long list of President Donald Trump's press secretaries, so are we. Kayleigh McEnany was given the position in April when Mark Meadows replaced Mick Mulvaney as White House chief of staff. And just a month into the job, McEnany now faces her first major scandal.
CNN's Andrew Kaczynski recently shared a compilation of news clips from 2015, in which she called comments made by Trump "racist," and accused him of being a "showman" who was not "a serious candidate" and adding "I don't want to claim this guy."
Kaczynski made the comments in 2015, as Trump surged in Republican primary polls. She later threw her support behind Trump during the 2016 presidential election.
In regards to comments that Trump made about Mexico sending immigrants to the United States who were "rapists" and bringing drugs and crime into the country, McEnany was highly critical.
"To me, a racist statement is a racist statement. I don't like what Donald Trump said," she told CNN in June 2015.
She compared the comments to remarks about Jewish people made by the Rev. Al Sharpton in the 1990s, which have been labeled anti-semitic by some.
McEnany said that Trump's comments about Mexicans were "derogatory" and as "equally hateful" as those of Sharpton.
"Donald Trump has shown himself to be a showman, I don't think he is a serious candidate," she added. "I think it is a sideshow. It's not within the mainstream of the candidates."
A few days later, during a June 2015 appearance on Fox Business, McEnany said that Trump did not deserve to be polling second in New Hampshire.
"Donald Trump is number two and doesn't deserve to be there," she said.
"I appreciate his boldness and I think some of his rhetoric got the base excited, but it is not welcome rhetoric," she added. "Some of the things we heard in his speech when he said, when Mexico sends people across the border, they're sending criminals and rapists and maybe some good people. Look, the GOP doesn't need to be turning away voters and isolating them. We need to be bringing them into the tent. Donald Trump is the last person who's going to do that."
Later that same month, McEnany said that while Trump was talking about a "real problem" his comments were wrong.
"I want to make clear, I don't support what Donald Trump said," she said. "I think he said something very unartful, very inappropriate."
"I think the mainstream Republican does not want to send the illegal immigrant back to Mexico. I think that they're here to stay, that's not the American way. We're not going to ship people across the border. There has to be some path to citizenship. So, in that sense, I don't think Donald Trump is consistent with mainstream Republicans. There's going to be a path."
The next day, McEnany told CNN that Trump was "a Republican in name only" who needed to apologize for his comments.
"That's the problem with Donald Trump is he can't apologize for his own statement. And not apologizing, he's losing credibility on what is a credible issue. The Obama administration just last year released 600 illegal immigrants who had criminal convictions," she said.
"I don't want to claim this guy," she added. "Donald Trump, if we're going to be honest, is a progressive. He supports eminent domain. He supported tax increases before. He's donated 300,000 to Democratic candidates. So, the fact that the Republican Party is now having to claim him, is both unfortunate, and to me, inauthentic. Because this is not a true Republican candidate. And the fact that he's being portrayed as such in media is troublesome and not accurate."
Just a few weeks later in July, McEnany began defending Trump after Amy Schumer got into trouble for joking that Latino men were rapists, according to CNN.
"I don't think that they're too far off comparing what Amy Schumer said and Donald Trump. I think that that's a good comparison," McEnany said. "It seems like comedy is this veil where you're allowed to say anything you like whereas what she said is - really, if you think about it - more offensive than what Donald Trump said. I understand it was in the veil of comedy but she essentially implied that Hispanics rape -- far more offensive than what Donald Trump said."
By October of 2015, McEnany implied that Trump's comments on Mexicans were taken out of context.
"Donald Trump is benefiting from all of this, because here is the thing, because every time someone tries to falsely put words in his mouth, they say that he said all Mexican immigrants are criminals, but he did not say that," McEnany said.
"He said, when Mexico sends people, that is different," she added. "Mariel boat lift, Cubans and criminals. That is not an absurd thought, but people tried to paint him as a racist and sexist. But he benefits from that because people are tired of this politically correct culture, where you have to say everything perfectly correct, or else you are going to offend an entire segment of society."
McEnany did not return CNN's request for comment.