McEnany shuts down Acosta speech disguised as question
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany pushed back against CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s characterization of the National Guard as “pummeling” peaceful citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.
The press has accused the Guard of using tear gas, rubber bullets and “munitions” on protesters.
“The First Amendment … does not give anyone the right to assault private citizens and to assault police officers,” said McEnany in her preamble to the question and answer period. She said the greatest demonstration of protest was the 1963, nonviolent “March on Washington” led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Acosta followed up with a speech designed as a question, as he often does:
“You mentioned Dr. King, who likely would not have approved of what took place Monday evening across from the White House, as you probably know,” said Acosta referring to the National Guard. “If the White House, the president and his team had to do it all over again, would you have gassed and pummeled protestors to clear the park so the president could have a photo op?”
The protesters, said McEnany, had grown unruly, throwing projectiles including bricks and frozen water bottles at police.
Acosta seemed to concede the officers were at some risk, but followed up claiming the “majority of protesters” were peacefully demonstrating.
McEnany was having none of it. “To protect the lives of officers, they have a right to defend and protect themselves.”
She then categorized examples of when police did not protect themselves during these protests:
- In St. Louis, four police officers were shot.
- In Las Vegas, a police officer was shot in the head and is now on life support.
- In New York, a cop was beaten up by a group of people.
- In Providence, 4-5 police officers and state troopers were injured.
- In Asbury Park, NJ a police officer was injured.
“Police officers are out on the front line. They are defending and protecting you as you come into this building each and every day, Jim,” McEnany concluded.
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