Over the last several months, I have been greatly impressed by President Trump's current Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. To me, she ranks among the great ones of all time. Why? Let us count the ways.
Kayleigh arrives at every press conference with high energy. She walks with purpose, steps on the podium, and opens her notebook on the lectern. She smiles at the group and, without preamble, delivers several minutes of editorialized information directly from the President and his Administration. She knows that most reporters in the audience do not wish to cover the initial topic she addresses.
Upbeat and Eager
She is aware that attendees work for organizations which have a predetermined agenda to diminish the Trump Presidency, one way or another. Yet, she strives to maintain an upbeat, positive, and forthright level of communications with everyone.
After Kayleigh finishes addressing her topic, she opens up the floor to questions. Her face is expressive. Her tone is cheery. She is ready to be of service knowing that she will encounter another round of mostly negatively posed questions designed to either catch her off guard, create controversy, or otherwise establish a level of rancor in the room.
Her notebook, which she brings to each press conference, is a three ring binder, tabbed with several dozen categories. She has ongoing categories such as the COVID virus, the national budget, or school reopening, flanked by new categories based on what has recently transpired with the Administration, across the country, or around the world. When she receives a question that she cannot answer off-the-cuff, with lightning speed, she turns to the tab in her notebook with the essential facts and figures, and, without missing a beat, delivers authoritative information to the questioner.
The Personal Touch
Kayleigh looks directly at whoever is speaking and listens intently to their questions. She employs the first name of individuals she knows, and does her best to give everyone a chance to participate. If someone is grandstanding, or is droning on and on, she does her best to answer, end the encounter, and turn to the next party. Kayleigh maintains her composure even in the face of several heated questions in a row. She is quick and to the point, but not terse or demeaning.
If she does not have the answer to a question but can direct someone to a better source, say, the Republican National Committee, the State Department, or some other agency, she does so. If she can research a topic and later provide answers, she promises to do so. If a question is posed that is speculative in nature, she politely says, “I'm not going to speculate on that," or, "I don't want to get ahead of the President."
The pacing of her conferences is a marvel to behold. Most range from 23 to 30 minutes. Reporters in the room have, in essence, been ‘trained’ by Kayleigh to ask their questions succinctly and allow for others to pose questions. On occasion, she’ll refer to charts and graphs, or show a video. She is not shy about accenting key developments that the press ‘seems to have missed,’ ignores, and wishes would go away.
The Honor Guard
Because Kayleigh sticks to the facts, she supports the Trump Administration in a manner that few others can. It is illuminating to watch her press conferences. You learn the good that the President is doing, unlike mainstream media ‘news,’ where Trump apparently never accomplishes anything good.
To wind up the session, Kayleigh has parting words prepared. When she finishes her concluding statement and is ready to depart, she smiles at the group, closes her notebook, turns to the right, and immediately heads out the door. In the early days of her tenure, reporters would shout out more questions. They have since learned the futility of the attempt.
One never knows how long someone can last in such a position. The intensity and pressure must be enormous. Yet, each time she steps onto the podium, she is ready to keenly represent the President and his Administration. All told, Kayleigh McEnany, only age 32, is among the most well-prepared and effective presenters one could encounter, and we can all learn from her.