Right-wing smear accuses a reporter of calling Kayleigh McEnany a misogynistic slur — but the video proves otherwise

Right-wing smear accuses a reporter of calling Kayleigh McEnany a misogynistic slur — but the video proves otherwise
White House

Like her predecessors Stephanie Grisham and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has had an adversarial relationship with the mainstream media, leading to testy exchanges. And on Tuesday, after a terse back-and-forth with Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett, some right-wing critics accused the reporter of calling McEnany a “lying bitch” during a press briefing.

But video and the White House transcript of the conservation shows that Halkett never said that.

Halkett, originally from British Columbia in Western Canada, has been covering the White House for Al Jazeera’s English-language division since the late 1990s. At the press briefing, Halkett had a tense discussion with McEnany when the two briefly addressed voting by mail. McEnany told Halkett: “There are questions about mass mail-out voting, and I know you don’t want to hear them — which is why you talk over me.”

Far-right activists who have accused Halkett of calling McEnany a “lying bitch” include Chuck Callesto, American Majority founder Ned Ryun and Brigitte Gabriel (founder of the anti-Muslim group ACT! for America). Gabriel posted, “Hey @KimberlyHalkett, We all heard you call the @PressSec a ‘lying bitch’ on a hot mic. What do you have to say for yourself?”

But CNN’s Daniel Dale has fact-checked Halkett’s critics, tweeting that McEnany was never called a “lying bitch.” And a White House press transcript of the exchange shows what was actually said. When McEnany decided that she didn’t want to talk to Halkett anymore, she told her, “You’ve gotten two questions, which is more than some of your colleagues” — to which Halkett responded, “OK, you don’t want to engage.” Halkett, according to the transcript, accused McEnany of not wanting to answer her questions, but the words “lying bitch” were never used.

The transcript bears out Dale’s description of what was actually said. Dale tweeted, “Nobody called McEnany a ‘lying bitch.’ When McEnany declined to continue responding to follow-ups, the reporter muttered, ‘OK, you don’t want to engage.’ You don't even need to slow down the audio.”

You can also listen to the video below to hear the exchange:

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